BANGKOK, Sept 24 (Xinhua):Thailand plans to postpone its reopening of the capital Bangkok and other major tourist destinations to foreign visitors until November, citing that the vaccination rate in these regions are still behind the targets.
The planned reopening to fully-vaccinated foreign visitors without quarantine of major tourist destinations including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai in October could be extended to Nov. 1, the Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan said in an interview with local media.
He added that the ministry would submit the adjustment to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the country's Covid-19 task force, for approval on Sept. 27.
"From the assessment of the current Covid-19 situation and the overall readiness in various fields, we would like to postpone the reopening timeline of these key cities further," said Pipat.
"One of the important criteria that we have to meet before reopening is to have at least 70 percent of the population in those areas fully vaccinated, but this target has not been met," he said.
According to Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, about 44 percent of the city's residents have been fully vaccinated so far, and Bangkok is now accelerating the pace of vaccine roll-out to achieve the 70-percent vaccination coverage.
The reopening plan was part of Thailand's efforts to boost tourism, a key engine of economic growth before the pandemic, and strike a balance between ensuring lives and livelihood.
The South-East Asian nation aims to inoculate about 70 per cent of its nearly 70 million population by the end of the year. As of Wednesday, 22.6 per cent of its people have been fully vaccinated, according to the CCSA. - Xinhua