Chinese tourists to arrive in Phuket

With Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme (STV) being rolled out, Phuket is set to welcome its first group of Chinese tourists next month. The flight, which is scheduled to land on 8th October, will carry 120 tourists from Guangzhou, Bangkok Post reports.

All visitors will be put in state quarantine facilities for 2 weeks, including being tested, as part of safety measures being put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

For visitors that do not pass the health screening process at the airport, they will be transferred to selected hospitals as “Patients under Investigation”. Those in the clear will be transported to their quarantine facilities directly after immigration.

First group classified as “low-risk group”

Head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) panel Gen Natthapon Nakpanich shared that the STV scheme will be implemented in Phuket and Koh Samui.

He then said that the first group of tourists from Guangzhou are a “low-risk group”, as there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the city for an extended period of time.

The number of arrivals are also limited to 300 a week. After monitoring the first phase of the scheme, officials will decide if the number can be increased.

Quarantine period might be shortened

According to the CCSA, a proposal to shorten the quarantine period from 14 days to just 7 is currently being proposed.

Dr Thiravat Hemachudha of Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre supported the idea, stating that people were “likely to show symptoms” within the first week.

“During the 14-day quarantine they will be tested on the 1st, the 7th and the 14th day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days,” he said.

However, not all officials are onboard with the idea. Nation Thailand reported that Dr Thira Woratanarat from the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University warned that it would be an “invitation to disaster” if Thailand decided to reduce the quarantine period.

Phuket governor Narong Woonsiew said that all officials involved with the scheme are ready to welcome visitors with COVID-19 labs installed at Phuket Airport, supplied by the Department of Communicable Disease Control.

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