Thailand: Bangkok's reopening postponement may go on longer than expected, says its governor

BANGKOK, Sept 18 (Bernama): Even after postponing to Oct 15 the reopening of Bangkok to foreign travellers, there is a strong possibility it will be delayed further as the capital city is highly unlikely to achieve the 70 per cent vaccination target for its adult population.

Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang painted a grim picture today when he said though more than 70 per cent of the adult population in Bangkok to date received at least one dose of the vaccine, only 37 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

"Public’s health is our top priority. To ensure safe opening, we must achieve the goal 70 per cent of the population in Bangkok fully vaccinated... We do not want to see a new outbreak as it would be problematic.

"We are expecting to achieve the vaccination target early as mid-October,” he said at a press conference here today.

Thailand is pushing to reopen more of its popular tourist destinations to vaccinated travelers starting October to revive its tourism industry hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic following the success seen in "Phuket Sandbox” and "Samui Plus” which was launched in July.

Apart from Bangkok, Thailand expects to open four other provinces - Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai as early as Oct 1.

On Thursday, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Bangkok’s reopening would be postponed by two weeks to Oct 15 as the targeted vaccination rate has yet to be achieved for safe opening.

The reopening of Bangkok and four other provinces is still pending approval from Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs' deputy spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said fully vaccinated tourists entering Bangkok and four provinces still required to undergo 14 days quarantine.

"To date, current measures will remain until further approval,” he said.

Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 14,555 new Covid-19 cases and 171 deaths, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 1,448,792 COVID-19 cases and 15,124 fatalities. - Bernama

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