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Thailand plans ‘travel bubbles’ when borders reopen

Members of a Thai Airways crew disinfect the cabin of an aircraft during a procedure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Jan 28, 2020. (Reuters file photo)

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The government plans to create so-called “travel bubbles” through bilateral agreements designed to keep the novel coronavirus in check when Thailand’s borders are reopened.

“Once the situation improves, we’ll allow travel between countries that we have an agreement with,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a briefing in Bangkok on Tuesday, adding no such pacts have reached the cabinet yet.

The country’s borders are restricted under a state of emergency that lasts until June 30, and most incoming international flights are banned. At the same time, officials are easing a lockdown after coronavirus cases dwindled, and mulling how to restart the crucial tourism sector to help counter a recession.

“There won’t be free movement because we don’t want another outbreak that could hurt both the origin and the destination,” Gen Prayut said.

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Vocabulary:

bilateral : involving two groups or countries - สองข้าง, เกี่ยวกับกลุ่มทางการเมืองสองกลุ่ม

bubble (noun): a ball of air or gas in a liquid, or a ball of air inside a solid substance such as glass; a round ball of liquid, containing air, produced by soap and water - ฟอง

cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

dwindle : to become gradually less or smaller over a period of time until almost nothing remains - ลดลงไปทีละน้อย

mull : to think carefully about something over a period of time - ครุ่นคิด

origin : the point from which something starts or comes from - ที่มา, ต้นกำเนิด, จุดเริ่มต้น

pact : an agreement between two or more people or organisations in which they promise to do something - ข้อสัญญา, ข้อตกลง

recession : a period when trade and industry are not successful and there is a lot of unemployment - ภาวะเศรษฐกิจถดถอย

state of emergency : a dangerous situation in which the government takes on special powers and the rights of the people are often limited in some way - ภาวะฉุกเฉิน   

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