Southern border to reopen next month
The government is planning to reopen the Thai-Malaysia border next month to stimulate tourism and the economy in the deep southern provinces.
Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek says Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the tourism and sports emergency operation centre to outline pandemic mitigation measures for the reopening of border checkpoints in Songkhla, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun.
Following the government's policy to open a travel bubble with Malaysia, tourists from the neighbouring country will be allowed to enter under the Test and Go scheme with no quarantine upon arrival.
However, visitors will still need to pass two RT-PCR tests after arriving in Thailand.
"The prime minister is confident Thailand will remain one of the world's top tourist destinations despite the pandemic.
"The government will support efforts to revitalise tourism, with an emphasis on public health and safety," Ms Rachada said.
Dr Suthep Phetmak, inspector-general attached to public health zone 12, said the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia and Thailand are similar.
On Feb 12, there were about 20,000 new cases, he said, so the public health agency expects the risk of the border reopening will be low.
Before the reopening, government agencies will prepare immigration processes, testing, hotels with the SHA+ standard and businesses with a Covid Free Setting, including public transport, tourism sites, restaurants and department stores, he said.