Thailand plans ‘travel bubbles’ when borders reopen

Members of a Thai Airways crew disinfect the cabin of an aircraft during a procedure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Jan 28, 2020. (Reuters file photo)

The government plans to create so-called “travel bubbles” through bilateral agreements designed to keep the novel coronavirus in check when Thailand’s borders are reopened.

“Once the situation improves, we’ll allow travel between countries that we have an agreement with,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a briefing in Bangkok on Tuesday, adding no such pacts have reached the cabinet yet.

The country’s borders are restricted under a state of emergency that lasts until June 30, and most incoming international flights are banned. At the same time, officials are easing a lockdown after coronavirus cases dwindled, and mulling how to restart the crucial tourism sector to help counter a recession.

“There won’t be free movement because we don’t want another outbreak that could hurt both the origin and the destination,” Gen Prayut said.

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