Thai travel agents call for vaccinated foreigners to be exempt from quarantine by third quarter of 2021

Thai travel agents call for vaccinated foreigners to be exempt from quarantine by third quarter of 2021
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The Association of Thai Travel Agents is urging the government to do away with the mandatory 14 day quarantine for vaccinated foreign arrivals by the third quarter of the year. The president of the ATTA, Vichit Prakobgosol, says 30% of 10,000 inbound tourism firms have had to close for good due to the financial devastation caused by the pandemic.
He adds that a further 50% have closed temporarily since Thailand shut its borders, with only 20% of inbound tourism companies still operating. Those still in business have survived by shifting their focus to domestic tourists but are now suffering as a result of the resurgence of Covid-19. Vichit says that in order to help them survive, the government must focus on getting the second wave under control by next month and bring cases of local transmission down into double digits.
“If the number of infections has reduced from hundreds to tens, it should create trust and a better tourism atmosphere. It is believed that in the third quarter of 2021, there will be more foreign tourists visiting the country and the tourism sector will recover more than 80% in 2022. This will, without a doubt, gradually solve the country’s struggling economy.”
Vichit adds that with vaccination programmes already underway in many countries around the world, including Thailand’s tourist markets of China and Southeast Asia, tourists who can prove they’ve been vaccinated should be exempt from mandatory quarantine.
“Approximately, more than 1 billion people around the world will have completed 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccinations later this year and many will desperately want to travel abroad after over a year of being locked down at home. Therefore, we would like the government to put measures in to accommodate and attract this group of people to travel in Thailand without a 14-day quarantine.”
He adds that the rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccine to arrive in the Kingdom next month may go some way to reducing concerns among Thais.
“Moreover, the earlier announcement of the arrival of Covid-19 vaccination in Thailand by February might have caused less stress and concern among Thai people when welcoming foreign tourists. We predict the majority of vulnerable and at risk people will be vaccinated by the third quarter in Thailand based on the government’s current plan, which should allow vaccinated people to enter with no quarantine.”
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Health Ministry says local administrations can buy Covid vaccines for roll-out in their areas
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The Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, says local administrations can use allocated funds to buy approved Covid vaccines for administration in their localities.
“The government plans to provide free jabs to the public but it is alright too if a local administration wants to use state-allocated funds to launch their own vaccination drive. It is good that local administrative bodies want to help. What they need to do is check with the authorities because there are certain rules and regulations to comply with.”
Anutin has stressed that the vaccines must have Food and Drug Administration approval. Last month, a private hospital in Bangkok was asked to remove an advert offering the opportunity to pre-order the Moderna vaccine, which has not yet been registered for FDA approval.
Paisarn Dunkum from the FDA says even if vaccines have been approved elsewhere in the world, they still require registration with the Thai regulatory body. The process requires manufacturers to supply testing data and information on potential risks, so that the Public Health Ministry has the necessary information to deal with potential side effects. Based on the information provided, the FDA will decide on the safety and efficacy of each vaccine.
“The FDA needs to protect consumers. We need companies to register so we can trace importers and companies if safety issues arise.”
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the mayor of Nakhon Nonthaburi municipality, Somnuek Thanadechakul, has already requested approval to buy vaccines directly from the Health Ministry in order to begin a local vaccination drive. Somnuek says the municipality is budgeting 260 million baht for procurement of the vaccines, adding that several other administrations plan to do the same.
The Health Ministry says local administrations must use their state-allocated funds to buy the vaccines, as opposed to using supplies from the government’s free rollout. The government’s campaign will begin next month, when 2 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab are rolled out to frontline medical workers, volunteer healthcare workers, and high-risk groups. This will be followed by 60 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the UK’s Oxford University. It’s understood the government is hoping to achieve herd immunity in at least 50% of Thailand’s population.
For now, only the Chinese and AstraZeneca offerings have registered for FDA approval. While other companies have been invited to register their vaccines, Anutin says the firms have stipulated conditions for doing so.
“These companies say they will not register their vaccines in Thailand unless authorities guarantee to place an order comprising a certain amount.”

This data comes from MediaIntel.Asia's Media Intelligence and Media Monitoring Platform.

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