Hopes of mid-2021 Thailand getaways dim under renewed restrictions

Rows of beds for incoming Covid-19 coronavirus patients are seen at a new field hospital in a sports stadium on the outskirts of Bangkok on April 18, 2021. - AFP

Thailand, with its 70 million inhabitants, has so far come through the pandemic relatively unscathed, reporting a total of more than 42,000 infections and 101 deaths in connection with Covid-19.

As a result, many fans of the country and people working in Thailand's tourism industry have been hoping vaccinated travellers would soon be returning to the country.

In March, Phuket presented plans according to which vaccinated travellers might be allowed to holiday on the island quarantine-free from July onwards.

However the future of these plans is now uncertain in light of rising infection numbers and renewed restrictions in mid-April.

There is a bit of a panic in the country at the moment.

Thai authorities have ordered the closure of bars, schools and entertainment venues in an effort to curb the latest coronavirus outbreak, which has led to record numbers of new daily infections.

Officials say the latest outbreak, which includes the more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in Britain, started spreading in nightclubs in Bangkok.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson for the government's coronavirus task force, announced that the new measures also include a ban on drinking alcohol in restaurants. The measures will become effective starting on April 18.

Although a travel ban has not been imposed, people are encouraged to refrain from leaving their homes between 11 pm and 4 am. Shopping malls and fitness gyms have been ordered to start closing by 9 pm.

Restaurants are also ordered to stop serving in-house customers by 9 pm and stop takeaway orders by 11 pm. Gatherings will have to be limited to a maximum of 50 people. In addition, the serving of alcohol in restaurants will be banned.

Taweesin said the new measures will be enforced for two weeks, after which officials will evaluate whether they need to be stepped up.

Thailand on Friday saw its fifth record daily number of new coronavirus cases this week, with 1,582 new cases. The South-east Asian country, with a population of around 70 million, has now also reported of a death tol which is more than 100.

Anyone considering a visit is advised to check their local foreign ministry's travel advice before booking, and Britain's Foreign Office that several hurdles remain in effect upon arrival, including 10 days in a state quarantine facility and a negative test.

Thailand is also asking travellers to download their pandemic health tracking app before arriving. Tourists need to pre-register their visit using a special Covid-19 tracker app called Thailand Plus (Android/iOS). - dpa
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Thailand , Covid-19 , Rising , Fast , Many Measures , Pandemic , Moves


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