Thai Pass tipped to ease

Thai Pass tipped to ease

Govt to mull axeing it for Thai returnees

Visitors take part in a guided tour of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram, or Wat Pho, on Thursday. A significant jump in tourists has been recorded since entry restrictions were eased on May 1. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Visitors take part in a guided tour of Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram, or Wat Pho, on Thursday. A significant jump in tourists has been recorded since entry restrictions were eased on May 1. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The government is expected to consider scrapping the Thailand Pass registration requirement for Thais returning from abroad.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the ministry will ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to consider cancelling the requirement.

It has been kept for foreign arrivals but the CCSA will be asked to scrap it for them in the future, Mr Anutin said.

Asked whether enforcement of the emergency decree imposed to curb Covid-19 should be extended, Mr Anutin said the decision rests with the prime minister.

However, he personally saw no problem with retaining the decree as it supports measures to contain the virus.

But once the pandemic is downgraded to endemic status, there may be no need for it as the country's public health system is adequately equipped to deal with the situation, Mr Anutin said.

Dr Sumanee Wacharasint, assistant spokeswoman for the CCSA, said 213,958 travellers registered with Thailand Pass between April 29 and May 4.

Of them, 202,878 (94.8%) had their registrations approved as the system has been made more conve­nient and the pass quicker to obtain, Dr Sumanee said.

The Test & Go entry scheme was cancelled from May 1 and fully vaccinated visitors will not be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival. They are urged to self-test with antigen kits during their stay, however.

Dr Sumanee said daily caseloads have shown signs of easing as hospital bed occupancy rates for severe cases have declined 20.1%, compared to a drop of 25% reported last week.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul said Mr Anutin monitored the Covid situation after the Songkran festival and found that daily case numbers continued to decline.

This bodes well for the government's move to declare Covid-19 endemic, Ms Traisulee said, adding Mr Anutin instructed the Public Health Ministry to work with the Transport Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry to come up with action plans for economic recovery.

The CCSA on Thursday announced there were fewer than 10,000 confirmed new Covid-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day, while the death toll was the lowest since the beginning of March.

The 9,790 new cases logged during the previous 24 hours were marginally higher than the figure of 9,288 reported on Wednesday morning. But coronavirus-related fatalities dropped to 54 from 82 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Anutin said Thailand's public health system and people's responsiveness to health safety measures were behind the country's success in handling the pandemic.

Those factors were highlighted at the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) Pilot forum held from April 21-29.

Thailand hosted the forum as the third model country for the UHPR Pilot, where lessons from battling the pandemic were studied.

Speaking at a joint press conference on Thursday to announce the findings from the forum with Dr Jos Vandelaer, WHO representative to Thailand, Mr Anutin said the UHPR Pilot scheme presented a platform where views, experience and best practices in coping with the pandemic were shared.

Mr Anutin said Thailand was ranked fifth in the world, and first in Asia, on the Global Health Security Index last year -- a list compiled among 195 countries by Johns Hopkins University.

The ranking underscored the country's reputation for implementing strong public health measures to combat the spread of diseases, the minister said.

Mr Anutin said Thailand's response to public health emergencies stemmed from it being practical and highly adaptable to the quickly-changing Covid-19 situation.

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