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Shorter quarantine if tourist test succeeds

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has sought help from private hospitals to carry out testing of tourists arriving at airports. Photo by WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

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A seven-day quarantine for foreign tourists can be put into effect in November if the first batch of inbound tourists in October is clear of coronavirus infections, says the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Next week the government will announce more details of the special tourist visa (STV) that will allow long-stay visitors, the first international arrivals in almost six months, to enter the country by Oct 1, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

If the first two groups of 300 foreigners complete the 14-day quarantine on Oct 15 and Oct 21 without a positive case, then the ministry plans to propose an increase in the number of tourists per week by Nov 1.


"Only 300 tourists per week will not be enough," Mr Phiphat said. "However, the figure has to comply with the capacity of the healthcare workforce from the Public Health Ministry to prepare swab tests."


For instance, the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office can provide swab testing services of up to 1,000 tests per day.

The ministry has spoken with private hospitals about providing more health personnel to support the virus testing process at airports, or allowing groups of tourists to get the test at quarantine facilities.

If the tourism plan runs smoothly, the ministry will consider shortening the quarantine period to seven days in mid-November, Mr Phiphat said.


"In the event there are five positive cases from 300 tourists, the plan to welcome foreigners has to move forward anyway," Mr Phiphat said. "But we will set up new alternative plans to cope with the situation."

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