SURAT THANI: Authorities have eased restrictions for people entering Koh Tao and Koh Phangan and they will take effect starting on Friday, said governor Witchawut Jinto.
Anyone who has received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to enter the two islands without quarantine or testing. Others must show a negative test result taken no more than seven days prior to arrival. The tests will be performed using the antigen test kit, or RT-PCR.
Mr Wichawut said the disease control centre of Koh Phangan district is in charge of the matter. It decided to ease the entry restrictions to stimulate tourism in preparation for a broader reopening in parts of the country from Nov 1.
Upon arrival, people who received either one or two jabs must register online with Save Koh Phangan and Save Koh Tao to obtain a health pass. They will also need to download the Mor Chana app and use the related QR code to gain access to services and tourism venues on the island, Mr Wichawut said.
The governor said 79% of people on Surat Thani are double-vaccinated. The province increased the vaccination capacity of 20 hospitals to 25,000 doses a day in a bid to hit its targets, he added.
Ramluek Asswachin, president of the Koh Tao Tourism Association, said 86% of people are fully vaccinated.
Ms Ramluek said she expected that tourism on the island would be revived thanks to the eased entry restrictions and other measures.
She said the frequency of ferries running between Chumphon and Koh Tao would be increased from Oct 21 while speed boats from Don Sak pier and Muang district will also be arranged to serve more visitors.
Meanwhile, Theerapong Chuaichoo, chief of Koh Samui district, has ordered the Phra Yai fresh market in tambon Bo Phut near Samui airport be closed for 14 days after 29 merchants tested positive for Covid-19.
Eighteen deaths linked to the pandemic were reported in Nakhon Si Thammarat in just two days, sparking worries among the families of infected people.
The death toll hit a new high this week. Daily infections in the province were also up.