Dept eyes Singapore-Phuket cruise plan

Dept eyes Singapore-Phuket cruise plan

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) will discuss with Singapore a new protocol allowing tourists to take cruises to Phuket from the island nation.

Tourists will need to show an ATK test taken within 24 hours before departure and be fully vaccinated. The numbers of tourists for each group would also be limited. However, the scheme needs to be considered by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) before it proceeds.

Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the DDC, met with Kevin Cheok, ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to Thailand, along with Alexander Lim, first secretary at the Singaporean embassy, to discuss the "Vaccinated Travel Lane" project to help boost the Thai economy.

Dr Opas said the pilot plan for the Singapore-Phuket cruise aims to launch in the third quarter.

According to the new protocol, tourists are not required to take an RT-PCR test after arrival but they must show evidence of Covid-19 vaccination and an ATK test result taken within 24 hours before their departure.

They would only be permitted to travel in Phuket, according to their pre-scheduled plans, and must strictly follow safety protocols including limited passenger numbers, social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing. Tour guides would also be required to take regular Covid tests and be fully vaccinated.

Singapore will propose the plan to related authorities before Thailand presents a finalised version to the CCSA.

"Thailand and many other countries are preparing to recategorise Covid-19 from a pandemic to an endemic. We will aim to recover the economy. Singapore donated 122,400 doses of vaccines and ATK kits for Thailand and we also gave them RT-PCR kits. Our cooperation will secure medical credibility in the region," Dr Opas said.

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