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No travel bubbles yet for tourists

Passengers return to Suvarnabhumi airport on Monday as domestic flights resume, but international tourism is still some time off, due to concerns about the travel bubble idea. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

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Travel bubbles for general tourism will not happen anytime soon, and the first people to benefit are likely to be working professionals and people attending international meetings, senior officials said on Wednesday.

Gen Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council and head of the government's committee on disease control relaxation, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had not yet made a decision on travel bubbles.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, doctors and security officials were concerned about the possible implications, and emphasised public health over tourism.

"Many countries have approached us for travel pairing, but Thailand must prioritise public health. Measures to control Covid-19 in those countries will be studied... There must be thorough discussions, which may continue into next month," Gen Somsak said.

A government source said the government would assess possible revenue from the travel bubbles  proposal, the possible impact on local people from any undetected, infected visitors, and other likely damage.

It would also consider the reaction of local people to foreign visitors and possible claims of discrimination between Thai returnees, who must enter quarantine, and foreign travellers, and between countries inside and outside the travel bubbles.

Travel bubbles would be initially for people attending international meetings and training sessions, engineers and technicians, and foreign teachers returning to work at international schools in Thailand. They would not be for foreign tourists, the government said.

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Vocabulary:

discrimination : the practice of treating someone or a particular group in society less fairly than others - การเลือกปฏิบัติ, การแบ่งแยก

emphasise : to stress something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain or show why something is important - เน้น

implications (noun): the effects that an action or decision will have on something else in the future - การเกี่ยวพัน,ความหมาย,ความเกี่ยวข้อง

pairing (noun): two things that work together -

prioritise : to put tasks, problems, etc. in order of importance, so that you can deal with the most important first - จัดลำดับก่อน

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

relaxation : making rules, controls, conditions etc less strict -

revenue : income from taxes or business activities - รายได้

thorough : detailed and careful - ละเอียดถี่ถ้วน

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