Phuket to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors

Phuket to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors

Bangkok: As Thailand continues to battle its third and worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have said that the country's largest resort island Phuket remained on track to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors from July 1.

The reopening plan, part of a "Phuket Sandbox" program, was approved on Friday at a meeting of the Centre for the Economic Situation Administration, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, reports Xinhua news agency.

Under the plan which is yet subject to approval by the Cabinet of Ministers, foreign visitors from low-risk and medium-risk countries to Phuket could be exempted from mandatory quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines certified by the World Health Organization.

However, they have to stay on the island and can travel freely for a minimum of 14 days before they can head to other places Thailand.

This is however, subject to the overall COVID-19 situation in the country and could change.

Speaking to CNN, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that he expects around 129,000 visitors to arrive in Phuket between July and September this year.

Meanwhile, domestic travellers visiting Phuket must be fully vaccinated, have received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine or recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days.

Otherwise, they need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within seven days prior to their arrival.

The country has also planned to welcome back vaccinated foreign visitors in nine other provinces, including the capital Bangkok and popular tourist destinations Pattaya and Chiang Mai, in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

Thailand's total caseload has risen to 171,979, while the death toll amounted to 1,177, more than tenfold since the third wave of outbreak started to spread in early April.

Some 1.6 per cent of Thailand's 70 million people have been fully vaccinated against Covid.

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