Thailand to reopen more regions to vaccinated Covid-19 visitors from November

People at a beach in Phuket, on Sept 19, 2021. The island successfully reopened to vaccinated visitors in a pilot scheme. PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand will waive its mandatory Covid-19 quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from Nov 1 to vaccinated arrivals, the authorities said on Monday (Sept 27), as the country tries to boost its immunisation rate and revive its battered tourism sector.

The regions include popular tourist areas Chiang Mai, Phang Nga, 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.

The authorities will also reduce the quarantine time nationwide for visitors arriving from Friday, the Covid-19 task force said, halving it to seven days for Covid-19 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 comes as the country tries to increase the rate of vaccinations after initial supply shortages. Less than a third of the population have been inoculated so far.

The task force also approved a plan to procure a combined 3.355 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, although no delivery timeframe was provided.

Pending Cabinet approval, Thailand will seek to buy 2.79 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 165,000 AstraZeneca shots from Spain and 400,000 AstraZeneca doses sourced from Hungary, a spokesman said.

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