Thailand inches one step closer to reopening its international borders with the launch of a coronavirus vaccine passport on Thursday, and the continued rollout of the national vaccination drive, with plans to inoculate staff at 58 alternative local quarantine (ALQ) hotels within Q3.
Of the vaccination plan, the tourism sector will receive 50,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines, out of a total 200,000 doses that had been shipped to the country in February. The sector expects to receive a second batch of five million doses, out of 26 million doses scheduled to arrive by end-June.
These vaccines will be administered to 13,000 employees at 58 ALQ hotels in five major tourist cities – Phuket, Surat Thani, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Krabi (the first batch excludes Krabi).
These ALQ hotels have a combined 6,716 rooms; comprising Phuket with 24 hotels (2,752 rooms), Chonburi with 16 hotels (2,522 rooms), Surat Thani with 10 hotels (288 rooms), Krabi with seven hotels (1,024 rooms), and Chiang Mai with one hotel (130 rooms).
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, minister of tourism and sports, said the vaccine quota has been submitted to the Ministry of Public Health. “The immunisation drive in the five provinces will be done within Q3. And I hope they would be ready to accommodate foreign tourists after that,” he said.
Phiphat also urged the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to approve other types of accommodation besides hotels for quarantine purposes, such as villas and resorts.
In a move to reopen the country, the Thai government yesterday officially unveiled the vaccine passport titled International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Every Thai who has been vaccinated will obtain one.
The vaccine passport was created by the Ministry of Public Health, and unveiled by minister Anutin Charnvirakul in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, the government has green-lit the Songkran festival, the country’s biggest annual event, to go ahead next month in order to boost tourism and the economy. In Bangkok, Songkran will proceed at Khao San Road, and is expected to draw a large number of domestic visitors.