Majority against opening country to foreigners: Poll

Majority against opening country to foreigners: Poll

A traveller walks away from a panel displaying outbound flight information at Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
A traveller walks away from a panel displaying outbound flight information at Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

A majority of people are still opposed to opening the country to foreigners who are not infected with Covid-19, reasoning that the global coronavirus situation is still very serious, according to a survey carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on July 6-8 on 1,251 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.

A proposed "medical and wellness" programme would open the country to foreigners who test negative for Covid-19 to receive medical treatment. They would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine before being allowed to return to their home countries.

A majority - 55.32% - disagreed with the programme. Of them, 41.41% strongly disagreed with it, saying those admitted could be carriers and cause a second wave of the pandemic,  while Thailand already has many infections imported by Thai returnees from abroad. Another 13.91% said they disagreed because the situation does not yet warrant the entry of foreigners. even if they have health certificates.

On the other side, 23.10% agreed, saying this would enhance the repuation of Thai medical facilities and spur the economy; and 21.58% moderately agreed, reasoning that measures taken by Thailand had proved effective against the Covid-19 spread.

A second proposed programme would allow those foreigners admitted for medical treatment to travel around Thailand after undergoing a 14-day quarantine. Asked about this second programme, 37.89% were totally against it and wanted Covid-19 to be 100% eradicated first because they had no confidence in the 14-day quarantine, while 14.55% disagreed with it, but less strongly, for fear of a second wave of the pandemic since Covid-19 was mostly imported by foreigners.

On the other side, 24.14% strongly supported the programme, saying it would help rehabilitate tourism and stimulate the economy, while another 23.26% somewhat agreed with it for showing confidence in Thai medical services.

The rest, 0.16%, had no comment or were not interested.

Asked about the travel bubble programme that would allow foreigners from countries free of Covid-19 to visit the country, a majority - 54.36% - supported it. Of that number, 25.90% strongly agreed, saying it would help spur the economy and revitalise the airline industry, while another 28.46% were in moderate agreement for the same reason.

On the other side, 29.65% strongly opposed the programme, and a further 14.95% were in moderate disagreement for fear of a second wave of the pandemic.

The rest, 10.4%, had no comment or were not interested.

Asked whether they were confident the government would be able to contain the spread of Covid-19 if foreigners were allowed into the country under these programmes, 59.63% were not confident while 39.33% were. The remaining 1.04% had no comment or were not interested.


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