Ministry getting ready to reopen 10 cities

THE Transport Ministry is getting ready for the reopening of tourist cities in 10 provinces to foreign tourists in the third and fourth quarters of the year.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Thursday held a videoconference with ministry executives.

“Ten cities that are tourist destinations are scheduled to reopen to overseas visitors in the second half of the year, starting with Phuket on July 1, under the Phuket Sandbox scheme,” he said.

“If the scheme is successful, tourist cities in nine other provinces – Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phetchaburi (Cha Am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin), and Buri Ram – will adopt the same practices.”

Under the sandbox scheme, foreign tourists who can verify they have been inoculated against Covid-19 and test negative can fly into Phuket and move around freely in the province without having to quarantine.

After staying in Phuket for 14 days and testing negative, the tourists can then travel to other provinces in Thailand.

“To take part in this reopening, agencies under the ministry responsible for air, sea and land transport, such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, Airports of Thailand Plc, Department of Airports, Marine Department, Department of Land Transport, Department of Rail Transport and State Railway of Thailand, would be actively involved,” Saksayam said.

“I have instructed these agencies to follow the checklist for disease control readiness as suggested by the Ministry of Public Health to ensure that foreign visitors are safe during their stay in Thailand.

“Most importantly, agencies are instructed to prioritise vaccinating 100% of the frontline officials against Covid-19 to ensure their safety,” added Saksayam.

“The ministry is considering performing immunity tests after two vaccine doses have been administered to determine if the staff need an extra jab.” — The Nation/ANN

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