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Foreigners to be allowed in

An expressway interchange, photographed from Baiyoke Tower II Sunday night, shows light traffic. Busy traffic is set to return after the night-time curfew was lifted from 11pm Sunday. The lifting of the curfew was published in the 'Royal Gazette'. Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool

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One thousand foreign visitors are expected to be allowed entry to Thailand per day without needing quarantine, according to a plan for "travel bubbles" to be submitted for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)'s approval on Wednesday.

These visitors, who in the beginning will be mostly business people and patients seeking medical treatment in Thailand, must come as part of bilateral cooperation on tourism between Thailand and selected countries which have managed to contain the coronavirus, Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said on Sunday.

General foreign tourists will later be allowed to visit Thailand if the tourism promotion programme proves successful in terms of the transmission control, she said.

Covid-19 screening tests will be required both before the visitors leave their countries and upon arriving in Thailand, she said.

This, however, doesn't meant the visitors will be able to travel freely while in Thailand as they will still be prohibited from visiting certain parts of the country and will be tracked via a smart phone application, she said.

Final details of the plan are being discussed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, Public Health Ministry, Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

The CCSA had on Friday agreed in principle on the travel bubbles proposal despite objections raised by security authorities.

The travel bubbles programme is seen by the Tourism and Sports Ministry as the first step to safely reopen Thailand's tourism to international visitors, she said. It is hoped to help the economy recover, she said.

Despite the CCSA's preliminary approval on the travel bubble proposal, security authorities had expressed strong objections to the idea at Friday's meeting, a source said.

They asked that the proposal be put on hold because it isn't certain the tourism promotion programme won't lead to a new spike of imported Covid-19 infections and possibly a new wave of local transmissions, the source said.

Worse still, giving privilege to these specific foreign visitors while still imposing the 14-day quarantine on Thai returnees will likely prompt negative reaction by those Thais, the source said.

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Vocabulary:

bilateral : involving two groups or countries - สองข้าง, เกี่ยวกับกลุ่มทางการเมืองสองกลุ่ม

economy : the relationship between production, trade and the supply of money in a particular country or region - เศรษฐกิจ

in principle : in general terms without knowing the details or whether something is really possible - โดยหลัก

objections : feeling or expressing opposition to or dislike of something or someone - การไม่เห็นด้วย

patient : someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้

preliminary : early; not final - ขั้นต้น, ขั้นแรก, เบื้องต้น, ชั้นต้น

privilege : a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group - เอกสิทธิ์

prohibited (adj): not allowed; to banned - ถูกห้าม

quarantine (noun): a situation in which a person or animal that might have a disease is kept separate from other people or animals so that they do not catch the disease - การกักบริเวณ, การจำกัดบริเวณ

require : to make somebody do or have something, especially because it is necessary according to a particular law or set of rules - บังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย) กำหนด

spike : a sudden increase - การพุ่งพรวดขึ้น

spokeswoman/spokesman : a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organisation - โฆษก

track : to follow the course of a moving object such as a ship, aircraft or animal using special equipment - ติดตาม, ตามรอย

transmission : the spread of a disease from one person or animal to another - การแพร่เชื้อ

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