More places to reopen by November

Trial scheme: A foreign visitor adjusting his face mask after undergoing a swab test at the Phuket International Airport in Phuket in this file photo. — AFP

THE country will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from Nov 1 to vaccinated arrivals, authorities said, as the country tries to boost its immunisation rate and revive its battered tourism sector.

The regions include popular tourist areas Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am, and follow the successful reopening of Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated people in pilot schemes since July.

The country is keen to welcome back foreign visitors, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies that contributed to a collapse in tourism, a key sector that drew 40 million visitors in 2019.

Authorities will also reduce the quarantine time nationwide for visitors arriving from Oct 1, the Covid-19 task force said yesterday, halving it to seven days for vaccinated arrivals, and cutting it to 10 days for those not inoculated.

It will also further ease restrictions from Friday in 29 “dark red” provinces under maximum control, including Bangkok, to allow more businesses and activities to reopen, such as spas, libraries, cinemas, indoor sports venues and nail salons.

The easing of measures come as the country tries to increase the rate of vaccinations, after initial supply shortages. Less than a third of the population has been inoculated so far.

The task force also approved a plan to procure a combined 3.35 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, although no delivery timeframe was provided. — Reuters

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