Reopening of capital 'must be safe'

Reopening of capital 'must be safe'

Nurses comfort a Satriwithaya School student as she and other students receive a dose of Sinopharm vaccine provided by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy at the National Telecom head office on Monday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Nurses comfort a Satriwithaya School student as she and other students receive a dose of Sinopharm vaccine provided by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy at the National Telecom head office on Monday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Welcoming tourists back to Bangkok hinges on three factors, including that 70% of its population are fully vaccinated, which could push the reopening near mid-November, according to the City Hall.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said on Monday Bangkok was keen to restart its tourism business but for the health safety of its residents, the City Hall has decided any reopening will only go ahead after it has satisfied three criteria.

One criterion, Pol Gen Aswin said, is that 70% of the city's population must have received two doses of vaccines. Such a target is expected to be met around Oct 22 and some 7-14 days after that is when people's immunity has been built.

The tentative timeframe could see Bangkok's tourism industry resuming sometime in the first or second week of November.

Pol Gen Aswin said the second factor for reopening to proceed is if daily caseloads continue to drop and there are fewer Covid-19 patients in hospitals. In recent days, between 2,700-2,800 daily infections have been reported.

The final criterion is that there are fewer people with Covid-19 in hospitals, he said.

The governor said if and when the targets are achieved, the City Hall will discuss with the Public Health Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry to set guidelines for tourism reopening before conveying them to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

At present, just 42% of Bangkok's 7 million residents have been double-jabbed, said CCSA assistant spokesman Apisamai Srirungson on Monday.

"People's safety comes first in reopening plans," Dr Apisamai told a daily press briefing on the coronavirus situation.

She said the BMA will hold talks with Phuket authorities tomorrow to learn from the experiences of the island's sandbox scheme.

Fewer than 1% of the 32,000 fully inoculated tourists tested positive during their stay.

On Monday, Thailand logged 12,709 new Covid-19 cases and 106 more fatalities during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Monday morning, said Dr Apisamai.

New cases fell for the third consecutive day on Sunday, although the new caseload was higher than the number of recoveries -- 11,125 -- and also higher than the 11,786 new cases recorded on Sept 14.

There were 11,851 new cases in the general population, 858 among prison inmates and 11 imported from abroad -- seven from Cambodia, two from the United States and one each from Israel and Myanmar.

Bangkok led new infections with 2,831 cases, followed by 942 in Samut Prakan and 532 in Chon Buri.

New domestic transmissions continued to decline since the 14,546 announced on Friday to 12,698 on Monday. Infections in Bangkok also dropped -- marginally -- from 2,911 to 2,831.

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