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Green light for foreigners

The first group of foreigners to be allowed to enter Thailand will comprise business representatives, skilled workers, experts, people with Thai families, teachers, students and patients who agree to quarantine, according to the government.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), on Wednesday elaborated on the government’s plan to allow foreign nationals back into the country. The plan was drafted by a sub-committee of CCSA.

Dr Taweesilp said most will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine after their arrival.

The spokesman said about 50,000 foreigners are likely to visit the country under the new rules.

They include about 30,000 people expected to arrive for medical and wellness tourism.

Others include about 15,400 skilled workers and experts; 2,000 teachers, educational personnel and students; 2,000 foreigners with Thai families or with residences in Thailand; and 700 business people and investors.

Members of this group have already registered for visits and agreed to undergo quarantine for 14 days — they can arrive immediately.

Those who would arrive for medical and wellness tourism and agreed to undergo quarantine could also arrive immediately.

Another group to be admitted includes business people and investors who will pay short visits, and guests of the government and governmental organisations.

They will be tested for Covid-19 both before and upon arrival, have health insurance and be monitored by medical personnel. Members of this group are expected to be allowed in on July 1.

Tourists who would arrive under the travel bubble scheme could be allowed in on Aug 1 on condition they undergo “Villa Quarantine”, meaning they stay in their accommodation and do not travel.

The draft measures would be submitted to the CCSA for consideration on Monday, Dr Taweesilp said.

The arrivals were expected to boost investment and tourism income, he said.

Meanwhile, all remaining businesses and activities including entertainment venues and “soapy massage” parlours which have been suspended to control the spread of Covid-19 will be allowed to resume next Wednesday.

Dr Taweesilp said regulations had been drafted by a CCSA subcommitee for the fifth stage of resumption of business and activities “when complete relaxation will occur”.

The draft regulations will be submitted to the CCSA for consideration on Monday, the spokesman said.

Businesses and activities to resume this time posed a high risk of disease transmission, he said.

Their closure had an insignificant impact on the overall economy, but some groups of people were in financial trouble because of it — including musicians and singers, he said.

Dr Taweesilp said schools will fully open. Restrictions on opening hours at malls will be lifted.

Pubs, bars and karaoke shops will reopen, but must close at midnight.

Groups of visitors will be capped at five people, and will be prohibited from joining other groups. Sales promotion activities will be banned.

Video game establishments will reopen, but will not be allowed to sell food or beverages.

Premises offering bath-sauna-massage services will reopen on the condition that customers and staff wear face masks and observe social distancing — except during “bathing time”, Dr Taweesilp said.

“Customers will use the Thaichana app when they check-in, or manually register their visit in a book,” he said.

Staff would be regularly tested for Covid-19 and other related diseases.

At all these premises, the government will continue to require body temperature screening, the use of face masks, social distancing, regular cleaning, one-month of surveillance camera footage to facilitate disease investigation, and use of the Thaichana app for check-in and check-out.

At wet-massage parlours, surveillance cameras would cover only public zones, Dr Taweesilp said.

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