Thailand’s public health minister has responded to comments from top medics who have questioned the wisdom of re-opening the country next month. Anutin Charnvirakul says any re-opening will need the go-ahead from the Department of Disease Control, adding that nothing has been confirmed yet.
“No one said the country will re-open on October 1.”
The Bangkok Post reports how, back in June, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said Thailand would re-open to vaccinated tourists in 120 days. However, the country is currently still in the middle of a Covid crisis and some health experts say the government is being hasty. Anutin says their views will be taken into account in making the final decision.
“The matter cannot be rushed as information on the pandemic situation and risks must be thoroughly addressed. We cannot order (the re-opening) yet because we must investigate academic information and make an assessment. If we are not ready, the re-opening will not be possible. We must look at several factors.”
Meanwhile, the tourism minister is understandably a bit more eager for the re-opening to go ahead. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says over 70% of Bangkok residents have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 38% have received both. Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang says the capital should be ready to re-open by October 15, as he expects 70% of residents to be fully vaccinated by then. All 50 of the capital’s districts will be included in the re-opening plan, including Din Daeng and Huay Kwang, despite them having Covid-19 clusters, as Phiphat says the situation will be under control by then.
However, Thira Woratanarat from the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University has his doubts. He continues to warn against re-opening the country, saying infections remain high and vaccinated foreign tourists could still bring the virus in or even contract it during their Thai holiday.
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SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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