Safety first: health measures key to reopening

Safety first: health measures key to reopening

A vendor waits for customers at a shop on empty Khaosan Road, formerly a mecca for backpackers visiting Bangkok. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
A vendor waits for customers at a shop on empty Khaosan Road, formerly a mecca for backpackers visiting Bangkok. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Reopening Bangkok and other cities to vaccinated foreign tourists is dependent on proper health measures being in place to cope with any surge in infections, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Friday.

Assistant spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangson said the CCSA needs to be convinced that preparations made by the Public Health Ministry are adequate.

This would be the issue when the virus task force considers any reopening plan for approval.

"It does not mean the areas (to be reopened) must be free of new transmissions, but that the public health system in those areas must be ready," she said.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is pushing for the reopening of popular attractions in Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chon Buri on Oct 1, and Bangkok possibly on Oct 15.

This follows the trial reopening of Phuket, known as the Phuket sandbox, that started in July.

Dr Apisamai  said the success of the Phuket sandbox was due to the mobilisation of health resources, some from Bangkok, to support the programme.

Health authorities and academics are worried about another virus surge after the country opens up more places to vaccinated tourists.

Dr Apisamai said no decision has been made at this point. The ministry has not yet put forward any plan to reopen more of the country to foreign tourists. 

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