Thailand: Cabinet approves Phuket sandbox

  • The cabinet on 22 Jun 21 approved the Phuket sandbox tourism scheme that sees the island reopen on 1 Jul 21, followed by a trio of destinations in the Gulf of Thailand — Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao – on 15 Jul 21, allowing in fully vaccinated tourists from some countries.
  • Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the reopening was pushed by local entrepreneurs after the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) agreed in principle with the plan on 18 Jun 21.
  • Mr Anucha insisted disease control measures and close monitoring will remain in place as required by the CCSA. The reopening scheme would be scrapped if there are more than 90 infections reported per week in tourism areas.
  • Those who travel to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are required to travel only via a “sealed” route scheme. For the first three days, they must stay in approved hotels.
  • They can travel along the sealed routes between days 4-7, then from days 8-15 they can travel to the other two islands.
  • As many organisations have expressed doubts about the government’s declaration to reopen the country by mid-Oct 21, Mr Anucha said the premier acknowledged such concerns.
  • Mr Anucha cited the premier’s statement that the government needs to strike a balance between the economy, public health and infection control.

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