A deputy government spokesperson says the CCSA will meet today to decide if the border with Malaysia can be re-opened, despite the southern neighbour reporting a case of the Omicron variant. According to a Bangkok Post report, Rachada Dhnadirek says the CCSA has previously agreed in principle, but the emergence of Omicron means the situation needs careful monitoring.
“The forward command will discuss the border re-opening proposal and present the matter to the CCSA for consideration at a meeting expected Monday.”
The CCSA previously discussed Covid-19 in the south on November 26, when it reviewed the situation in the provinces of Songkhla, Satun, Narathiwat, Yala, and Pattani ahead of a planned re-opening of a number of border checkpoints from December 16. According to the Bangkok Post, they include the Sa Dao border checkpoint in Songkhla, the Sungai Kolok checkpoint in Narathiwat, the Betong checkpoint in Yala, and the Wang Prachan checkpoint in Satun. The CCSA is now expected to make a final decision today.
Surin Palare from the Democrat Party in Songkhla is one of the MPs calling for the border to be re-opened. He points out that the closure of the border for nearly 2 years now has led to a surge in the number of people crossing illegally, potentially worsening the spread of the virus. According to Surin, keeping the border closed is affecting Thai workers who remain stuck in Malaysia.
“Re-opening the border will help ease the problem and bring back tourists from Malaysia and resuscitate the local economy at the same time.”
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand remains upbeat about the number of foreign visitors arriving in Thailand, with governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying Omicron has so far not affected bookings. The TAT’s target is for around 600,000 foreign tourists for November and December and Yuthasak says no cancellations have been reported to date.
“The new variant has not affected travel sentiment.”
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SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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