Thai health officials on Tuesday reported 965 new cases of covid-19 coronavirus bringing the accumulated total to 34,575, since the start of the pandemic last year. It was the third day in a row with more than 900 new cases in the Kingdom.
The growing covid-19 outbreaks now threaten to undermine the Thai governments plans to welcome back tourists to the island of Phuket with no quarantine in July.
Covid-19 cases have spiked and the latest figures suggest the coronavirus spread has yet to be contained by health officials. This could jeopardize Thailand’s tourism efforts to boost the local travel industry.
“The outbreak is worrying and could derail Thailand’s plans” to resume tourism activities more widely, said Jeremy Lim, director of the Leadership Institute for Global Health Transformation at the National University of Singapore told Bloomberg.
No quarantine re-opening for Phuket
Thailand is already planning to reopen Phuket from July and waiving quarantine for vaccinated tourists heading there. It’s using the resort island as a testing ground before expanding similar measures to other tourist hotspots such as Koh Samui.
“From a public health perspective, it would be a disaster for the world if Thailand pushes through its plans regardless of the ground situation, and Thailand becomes a super spreader site,” Lim said, referring to the tourism plans.
As part of its tourism efforts, it has already approved a list of eight Covid-19 vaccine makers, including Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Pfizer Inc., for foreign visitors seeking to shorten a mandatory quarantine on arrival.
Tourism has never been more important to Thailand. It’s betting on a return of overseas visitors to rescue the country from its worst economic performance in more than two decades. Tourism contributed to a fifth of its economy before the pandemic.
Foreign tourist arrivals into Thailand plunged to the lowest level in at least 12 years after the country closed its borders.
Source: CTN New, Bloomberg