The government’s plan to reopen the resort island of Phuket as a model to welcome back foreign visitors has been shelved, as the country last week logged the first case of local Covid-19 infection more than 100 days.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, has traveled to Phuket to seek views and suggestions from local residents concerning plans to reopen the province to foreign tourists. Their input will be submitted to Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, for consideration.

Under the Phuket model, floated by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, about 200 visitors from Australia and New Zealand would be allowed to travel to Phuket. However, they must first test negative for the virus in their country of origin and stay in quarantine for 14 days at designated places in Phuket.

But after meeting Phuket residents, the Tourism and Sports Minister said they wanted a public hearing to take place because a number of people disagreed with the plan to reopen the province to foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the government is also organizing trips to Phuket and other provinces for expats and diplomats. Recently, the government arranged a tour for this group to visit Khung Bang Kachao in Phra Pradaeng district, Samut Prakan province. 

Last week, a 37-year-old male prison inmate was tested positive for Covid-19 during 14-day quarantine after being sent to jail on Aug 26 for a drug offence. He worked as a DJ at two branches of the Sam Wan Song Khuen pub, one in Bangkok and the other in Nonthaburi, and visited a venue on Khao San Road.

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Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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