Phuket will be the first to lift quarantine for vaccinated foreign tourists from July onwards, followed by at least five other destinations from October
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) roadmap to reopen six major tourist provinces – Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai – to foreign tourists who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is going ahead as scheduled in line with the country’s COVID-19 vaccination timeline.
Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ programme, starting from 1 July, 2021. Tourists will be required to spend the first seven days on the island, before travelling to other Thai destinations.
In preparation to welcome vaccinated foreign tourists, authorities are working on vaccination programme to safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 for 70% of Phuket’s population, including residents, workers in tourism-related businesses, and migrant workers.
Nationwide, the government is striving to efficiently administer the COVID-19 situation and acquire additional vaccines to reach the target of 100 million doses to vaccinate 50 million people across Thailand by the end of the year.
Thailand started the preliminary vaccination programme in late February with the first 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac and 117,000 doses from AstraZeneca. The inoculation project continued with 800,000 more doses of Sinovac vaccine in March and one million more in April.
Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri which includes Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Surat Thani which includes Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, as well as eight other high-risk provinces were being prioritised in the rollout of the first vaccine doses.
Until today, some 1.47 million people in Thailand have been vaccinated – with one or both doses. Meanwhile, the country’s mass vaccination rollout is scheduled to begin in June when the first batch of six million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to be produced locally by Siam Bioscience, will be delivered. The amount will increase to 10 million doses a month between July and November, and the last batch of five million doses in December.
In addition to 63 million doses (61 million from AstraZeneca and two million from Sinovac), the government is in the process of acquiring 37 million more doses of vaccine to be delivered within this year. This may include 5-10 million doses each from Pfizer, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac, as well as from Moderna, Sinopharm and Bharat.
According to the government, all people in Thailand, regardless of nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine and can register for the vaccination programme via the Mor Prom (“Doctors Ready”) Line official account, or at hospitals and health promotion hospitals nationwide.
Registration starts on 1 May, 2021, and the vaccination starts on 7 June, 2021, for the priority group, comprising people aged 60 or older and those with seven chronic diseases: lung disease, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Other groups or people aged 18-59 can register in July 2021, and the vaccination starts in August 2021.
The government expects the nationwide vaccine rollout to complete within four to seven months, or between September and December, 2021.
With the vaccination programme going ahead as planned, Thailand’s reopening roadmap will also go ahead as scheduled. Apart from Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai, other destinations in the reopening pipeline include Bangkok, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).