Jabs rollout revs up amid tourism hope

Jabs rollout revs up amid tourism hope

Phuket, Samui plan for July reopening

Anutin (centre): 'Doses will be sufficient'
Anutin (centre): 'Doses will be sufficient'

The Public Health Ministry is speeding up vaccinations in Phuket and Koh Samui to prepare them for the anticipated return of foreign tourists in July.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Monday spoke about the Phuket private sector's request for 900,000 AstraZeneca doses, saying the request would likely be approved since the government had secured five million doses for June and 10 million more each month after that.

Mr Anutin insisted there would be sufficient Covid-19 doses in the country and Thailand would have over one million doses if it could secure more doses next month.

The minister said the latest batch of 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine had been allocated to at-risk provinces such as Samut Sakhon and other tourist towns but Phuket would receive 100,000 doses and Koh Samui 50,000.

Mr Anutin added that one million doses would be allocated to the armed forces but he could not confirm the anticipated reopening date for foreign travellers on July 1.

Regarding the Covid-19 measures for the Songkran festival, the minister said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had not yet finalised the measures.

The situation was still under control, Mr Anutin said, despite new clusters being found in Bangkok and Samut Prakan.

On Koh Samui, district chief Theerapong Chuaychu who is in charge of the district's disease control centre, said foreign tourists on the island would be quarantined under the Samui Sealed Route Model as follows:

Upon arrival, tourists will be transported from the airport to hotels in a closed system.

They will receive a swab test on the second or third day after arrival, with results expected in three hours, during which time tourists must stay in their quarantine hotel room.

"If they test negative, tourists will be allowed to travel in areas designated by the Samui district disease control centre," he said.

Tourists will receive a swab test again on their seventh day on the island and will be allowed to change hotel and travel around Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao if their test again comes back negative.

After 14 days, tourists will be allowed to travel to other provinces as normal.

Samui has been approved in principle to be the first area in the country to reopen to foreign tourists.

A Bangkok Airways flight will take tourists from Singapore to the island on July 1, according to the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.

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