Calls for a post-virus blueprint

Calls for a post-virus blueprint

Business chiefs urge positive plan

The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) has asked the government to come up with a long-term plan for reopening the economy to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the half-way point towards a 120-day deadline set by the government, which falls in mid-October, TCC chairman Sanan Angubolkul yesterday highlighted the need to rebuild public confidence and prepare a long-term plan to revive the country's economy. More needs to be done to boost public confidence and ensure the economy can recover, he said.

Mr Sanan said the government must focus on positive Covid-19-related statistics, such as improvements in recovery rates or the availability of beds, to boost public confidence and convince people to resume their daily routines.

"The TCC, academic institutions and private sector are ready to help spread such messages as well as support the vaccine distribution," he said.

"Vaccinations under the City Hall-run Thai Ruam Jai programme are slated to reopen for the rest of the year, together with accelerating second doses."

Should there be another fresh wave of Covid-19 infections, Mr Sanan said the government should consider quarantining specific zones focusing on infected markets, factories and workers' dormitories, rather than shutting down entire provinces.

"Despite the government's 'Covid-free' measures imposed on certain businesses, it must issue explicit plans, especially regarding reducing antigen test kit prices, as well as provide reliable data to reassure people of the country's readiness to reopen," he said.

"Also, the state's online capacity must be increased if it wants to apply the Digital Health Pass system proposed by the private sector."

On June 16, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced a 120-day plan for a return to business as usual, with a target of ensuring 10 million vaccinations are administered each month, with 50 million people getting a first dose at least by the end of October.

However, with the growing number of infections since April, many have raised doubts as to whether this is feasible.

Nevertheless, at a parliamentary meeting on Friday, Gen Prayut insisted the plan is on track with Oct 1 still pencilled in for Bangkok, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai to follow the islands of Phuket and Samui in reopening to foreign tourists.

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