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Asia Minute: Thailand May Welcome Vaccinated Visitors

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha holds samples of Sinovac vaccine during a ceremony to mark the arrival of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine shipment at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

It’s been nearly six months since Hawaii started its “Safe Travels” program, which now allows visitors on most islands to skip quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test. Other locations are more cautious with entry requirements, but some are considering easing certain restrictions. And that includes Thailand.

If you’re planning to go to Thailand anytime soon, you’ll need a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. You’ll need another negative test upon arrival and after that, you’ll be headed for a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a state-approved facility.

But that may be changing — if you can prove you’ve gotten a coronavirus vaccine.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said Tuesday the government’s working on a plan that would include the tracking of those vaccinated visitors. It’s a more positive response to vaccines than the government has had up to now, and it’s aimed at helping the roughly twenty percent of the national economy that’s dependent on tourism.

Thailand’s central bank has called uncertainty about visitor arrivals a “major risk” to the country’s economic outlook in the medium term. 

As for the domestic population, the Bangkok Post reports the government has some 63-million doses of vaccine on order.

They’re coming from AstraZeneca and the Chinese company Sinovac with the first batches due to arrive from China tomorrow — with a national roll-out potentially starting as early as next week.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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