Chinese don't pose Covid threat: DDC

Chinese don't pose Covid threat: DDC

No surge expected as tourists flock back

Officials welcome the first group of Chinese tourists to arrive in Thailand at Suvarnbhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 9. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Officials welcome the first group of Chinese tourists to arrive in Thailand at Suvarnbhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 9. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The arrival of more Chinese tourists in Thailand is unlikely to trigger a spike in the number of new Covid-19 infections, says the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

The department said it plans to assess the situation regarding coronavirus infections in two weeks' time.

At present, the average caseload is 900 per day, with the number of Covid-19 patients in critical condition and requiring a respirator dropping, DDC director-general Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong said on Wednesday.

The country is now seeing eight deaths a day from the virus on average, he added.

Moreover, the number of cases after the New Year holidays has turned out to be lower than expected, he said.

Tourism businesses have been preparing themselves for an influx of tourists from China after the country lifted quarantine measures over the weekend. They and their staff have been fully vaccinated and have been practising the universal prevention measures, Dr Tares said.

As many Chinese are expected to tour religious sites, the DDC is working with the Ministry of Culture and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to make sure safety measures are in place.

At international airports, body temperature scanners have been installed, and disease control staff deployed to provide health advice to travellers who are either infected or suspected of being infected with the virus, he said.

The same Covid-19 measures as those imposed on air travellers will apply to other foreign and Thai nationals entering Thailand by land through the border provinces such as Chiang Rai, Dr Tares said.

Tourists from countries like India and China that require a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test before they are allowed to return home must still have health insurance covering at least US$10,000 (335,400 baht) in Covid-19 treatment costs before they enter Thailand, he added.

As for Covid-19 vaccination services for foreign tourists, the DDC has designated at least two centres in Bangkok and one each in Phuket, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai.

The estimated cost is 800 baht for a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 1,000 baht for the Pfizer vaccine.

Some 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to arrive in the next three months, representing about 5% of international arrivals, Dr Tares said.

Deputy clerk Suksan Kittisupakorn said the BMA and the Ministry of Public Health have prepared more than 10,000 hospital beds for new Covid-19 patients.

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