Thailand Reopening Requires 14-Day Quarantine in Phuket
Many countries around the world have travel bans in place. Even if travel is allowed, it usually comes with a quarantine requirement of 14 days, which is something that no one is willing to do while on vacation. But what if that 14-day quarantine was done at an awesome location? That is exactly what Thailand is planning, which is similar to the “resort bubble” idea for Hawaii.
Thailand’s Minister of Tourism Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said recently that the country is aiming to allow foreign tourists to enter the country through a program dubbed “Safe and Sealed.” Under this program, Phuket would be used as a pilot model. If successful, the project will be expanded to include other destinations, CNN reports. The country’s tourism sector normally contributes close to 15% of its GDP, so welcoming tourist back is crucial for the economy of Thailand.
Here’s how the plan would work. Tourists will be permitted to fly into Phuket, Thailand’s largest island. They will need to quarantine in a designated resort for 14 days. Patong Beach is a possible location that was mentioned by the minster. Patong Beach is the most popular and well-developed beach on Phuket Island. An area slightly less than one mile, which would include three-to-four resorts could be set up there, allowing quarantined tourists to spend time on the beach.
Travelers will need to get tested for Covid-19 at the beginning and end of their 14-day quarantine. Then, they will be free to travel on the island. But if they want to travel to the rest of the country, they will have to quarantine for an additional seven days and will have a third Covid-19 test at the end of that 21-day quarantine period. Hotel staff who work in these designated zones will not be permitted to leave without first going into quarantine either. They will also get tested regularly for Covid-19.
The plan has been approved by the government and the next step involves holding a public hearing to get approval from local residents. This is expected to take place in early September and travel could open up soon after that.
COVID-19 in Thailand
Thailand hasn’t reported a locally transmitted Covid-19 infection in more than three months. So far the country counts a total of 3,402 cases and 58 fatalities. CDC’s website has it listed as “Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions.”