'Travel bubbles' approved in principle

'Travel bubbles' approved in principle

Pulic Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, right, looks at solution samples at the Siam Bioscience Group, which produces Covid-19 test kits, on June 1. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Pulic Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, right, looks at solution samples at the Siam Bioscience Group, which produces Covid-19 test kits, on June 1. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Covid-19 response committee approves, in principle, a proposal for "travel bubbles" with selected countries that have shown they can effectively contain the coronavirus.

The decision was announced after Friday's meeting by CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

The proposal was tabled by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

The minister told reporters before the meeting began that he had floated the idea of pairing with countries that have contained the coronavirus disease on a par with Thailand, countries that could efficiently control the spread of the viral disease.  

Under the proposed travel bubbles, each side would have health screening standards for arriving visitors. 

Asked whether the government would end the use of the emergency decree after the Covid-19 situation improved, Mr Anutin said that decision rested with the prime minister. 

Measures put in place under the decree were aimed at keeping coronavirus infections at a minimal level.  There had been no community transmission for 17 days now, he said. 

Mr Anutin said the local transmission issue should not be linked with the emergency decree. The CCSA had to ensure that people remained safe and the country was free of the coronavirus before making any decision on that.

He said the situation had gradually improved but people must remain cautious as long as there was no vaccine. The best way was for everybody to wear face masks, he added.

On calls for the reopening of Phuket international airport, Mr Anutin said he would pass the requests to the CCSA at Friday's meeting. He understood that tour operators and other businesses wanted the airport to resume services.

He personally agreed it was time to reopen Phuket international airport, because Suvarnabhumi airport had reopened.

Asked by reporters to confirm if Phuket airport would be reopened this month, or in July, the minister said he wanted it to reopen as soon as possible, because there had  been no local transmissions for more than two weeks.

When there had been no community infections for 28 days, it would be time to ease the coronavirus lockdown measures, he said.



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