Bangkok is rushing for more jabs


Bangkok is rushing for more jabs

City cannot be reopened until it is safe

Bangkok residents are queuing at food stalls on Yaowarat Road after the CCSA eased food restrictions on September 1.

A political tug-of-war could be the key factor in determining when Bangkok can be reopened to fully vaccinated tourists.

Bangkok is slated to reopen on October 15th, while Chon Buri (Pattaya), Phetchaburi (Cha-am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) and Chiang Mai (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao) are slated for October 1st The proposal is expected to be presented at the next meeting of the Center for the Management of the Covid-19 Situation (CCSA) on September 24th, followed by the Center for the Management of the Economic Situation on September 29th.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Thai Tourism Authority (TAT) met with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang. Immediately after that meeting, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn insisted that the date for the reopening of Bangkok be set for October 15th.

However, on Friday, the governor of Bangkok stated that the city should not be reopened until residents have a 70% vaccination rate in order to ensure adequate immunity.

According to a source requesting anonymity, Pol Gen Aswin said during Wednesday’s meeting that both he and Bangkok residents are agreeing to the reopening plan, but the city may have to wait until October 22-24, 70% of the time Residents get their second stitches.

Pol Gen Aswin addressed the possibility of shortening the interval for the second shot to open the city before October 22, which the BMA health authority representative believed possible if the BMA, with the support of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, procures more vaccines can.

The reopening proposal requires CCSA approval to get more vaccines to hit the 70% threshold for the metropolitan area, said TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Mr. Yuthasak said TAT will hold talks with tourism companies on September 22nd to prepare for Bangkok’s reopening.

Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, acting president of Chon Buri Tourism Council, said reopening Bangkok could support tourism in Pattaya with more direct flights. Most tourists enter the country through Suvarnabhumi Airport. Asian tourists usually combine visits to Bangkok and nearby areas like Pattaya so the capital’s reopening could complement other travel destinations, he said.

“Reopening more areas will definitely benefit the tourism industry as it shows the country’s willingness to welcome tourists again,” said Thanet.

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