Vaccine plan on track to reopen 3 resort islands

Vaccine plan on track to reopen 3 resort islands

Surat Thani's three resort islands will receive 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines before they reopen for tourists on July 15.

Theerapong Chuaichoo, the head of Samui district, said Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao will be given the vaccines in the fourth round of vaccine allocation to complete the 70% herd immunity target so the islands can reopen to foreigners by July 15.

He said 70,000 doses will be allocated to Koh Samui while 30,000 doses will go to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Yesterday, several thousand Samui residents received their second dose of vaccines after 60,000 doses were delivered for the third round.

Mr Theerapong said vaccinations were mainly being administered in four main locations but visits also were being made to vaccinate people in hospitals or the elderly in their homes for their convenience.

Vaccinations in the third round will cover 60% of the population.

He said that after the cabinet gave the nod for Samui to reopen, at least 10 hotels have declared their intent to restart operations and rehire workers after the outlets were forced to close due to the economic fallout brought on by the crisis.

Meanwhile, a Covid cluster that began at a Muslim religious school in Yala, and has resulted in more than 400 cases across 12 southern provinces since June 9, has not affected the Samui reopening plan, Mr Theerapong said.

The island has tested all visitors from these provinces, he said, adding Bo Phut and Koh Samui police stations and soldiers were monitoring Muslim communities on the island to see whether they may have come into contact with people from infected areas.

Under the reopening plan, people heading to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are required to travel via a "sealed" route scheme. For the first three days, they must stay in approved hotels.

They can travel along the sealed routes between days 4-7, then from days 8-15 they can travel to the other two islands.

It is part of the plan to reopen the country in 120 days, beginning with Phuket on July 1.

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