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Govt considers allowing foreign arrivals

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The government is considering easing entry restrictions for foreign visitors possibly in the third or final quarter of this year, with priority given to those arriving from coronavirus-free areas, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

He said relaxing inbound travel restrictions is the first step in kickstarting the tourism industry, but the government has carefully screen travellers and use a tracking system to reduce the risk of a second wave of infections.

Mr Somkid said visitors from countries or areas where Covid-19 outbreaks have been contained are likely to be the first to be allowed in.

“It doesn’t have to be an entire country — we can allow visitors from towns or provinces which are free from the coronavirus. Travel restrictions will be gradually eased and foreign visitors are expected to return in the third or fourth quarter of this year,” he said.

The third quarter of the year starts next month.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, meanwhile, signalled that the emergency decree, which is set to expire on June 30, could be extended.

He said the decree enables returnees to be brought from Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan to the state quarantine facility in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district without delay.

However, Pheu Thai Party member Thossaporn Serirak insisted the government must further ease the lockdown measures and lift the emergency decree to allow people to get back to work and earn a living.

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