70 visitors arrive on Sunday
The government's so-called villa quarantine, a Covid-19 option backed by the cabinet, will begin on Sunday when a group of 70 international visitors is due to arrive in Phuket on a charter flight from Indonesia, Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin says.
The visitors will be required to spend the first five days of their two-week visit at a designated state Covid-19 quarantine facility and the rest of their time in a villa in Phuket, he said, referring to Sri Panwa Phuket, a luxury pool villa hotel in Muang district.
The travellers, from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Brazil and France, had previously undergone several Covid-19 tests when they were travelling to other countries in a "bubble travel" programme, Dr Taweesilp said.
Before they arrive in Thailand they will be in Indonesia, he said.
However, as the group will be the first to arrive under the villa quarantine option, a special panel of the CCSA will today convene to review the plan for the first villa quarantine, he said.
If Sri Panwa succeeds in this new quarantine programme, the country's tourism industry will largely benefit, he said. More visitors might be tempted to come.
The CCSA yesterday recorded 175 new confirmed Covid-19 infections, 168 local transmissions and seven imported cases, who were people in state quarantine centres, Dr Taweesilp said.
As for the latest cluster of Covid-19 infections centred in two fresh markets in Pathum Thani, he said, the outbreak has spread to seven provinces, namely Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom, Phetchaburi, Ang Thong and Bangkok.
The two markets are Pornpat and Suchart markets. Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul insisted the Covid-19 situation in Pathum Thani was under control.
A 21-year-old medical student at Thammasat University who had tested positive for Covid-19 was found to have been exposed to the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 while examining people without wearing a face mask.