Top government members suggest that after July we could see tourists from safe areas arriving into Thailand while retaining the state of emergency to allow for seamless coordination government directives across the country.
Leading officials in the Thai government have signalled an easing of the travel ban on foreign passengers but an extension of the emergency decree beyond July 1st. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has signalled that tourists from safe countries or even provinces of such countries may have access to Thailand after July 1st while his colleague, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, the government’s top legal advisor, has strongly suggested retaining the state of emergency also beyond that date.
The government has sent a strong signal that it may seek to extend the emergency decree beyond June 30th to allow it more effectively control the Covid 19 virus and associated situations.
This was indicated today by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam who expressed a view that it was difficult to imagine how the government could effectively control all agencies and ensure cooperation with military authorities under the 2015 Communicable Disease Act which would, in legal terms, be the fallback position.
Deputy PM cites quarantine scheme as essential
The ministry’s legal eagle particularly cited the government’s 14-day quarantine scheme, now deemed essential to national protection efforts against the virus.
‘I can’t imagine such operations proceeding under the Communicable Diseases Control Act,’ Deputy PM Wissanu said.
PM has asked for a report on alternative legal measures to the state of emergency decree
Mr Wissanu has been tasked by the prime minister to report on the range of laws currently available as an alternative to the country’s state of emergency which came into force on March 26th last.
He confirmed that the government is considering extending the decree further. He also pointed out that this would allow for the best regimen possible to protect the kingdom from a second wave of the virus.
However, the deputy prime minister did signal further easing concerning the lockdown measures and the curfew now in place.
The comments from Mr Wissanu drew a response from the opposition.
Pheu Thai’s Thossaporn Serirak indicated that now was the time to not only ease restrictions and lockdowns but to end the state of emergency.
He said that there were other legal tools which the government can use to fight the virus in this current situation.
Easing of restrictions on foreign travel ban but only for tourists from safe areas, free of Covid 19
Meanwhile, another deputy prime minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, the government’s economic point man has also suggested that there may be an easing of the restrictions on foreign visitors to Thailand to allow tourism activity to resume.
He said that this could take place in the third and fourth quarters of the year. This means that there may be some changes anytime from July 1st.
He suggested that such a move must be accompanied by careful screening of passengers and a tracking system to prevent the virus reigniting or a second wave of infection.
Thailand has recorded 58 deaths from the Covid 19 virus with 3,119 infections reported to Tuesday.
The kingdom has now gone 14 days without a locally transmitted infection meaning that by the end of June, the country will be virus free due to the incubation period of the virus.
Tourism bridges do not necessarily have to relate to countries but can be applied to provinces
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid indicated that the so-called travel bridges or bubbles do not have to be strictly limited to country to country travel.
He said that provinces from certain countries could be allowed to send tourists or passengers to Thailand with eased restrictions.
It has been reported, in recent days, that such ‘tourist bridges’ or ‘bubbles’ would see travellers from such an initiative exempted from the 14 day quarantine period.
The same reports suggested that the initiative ordered by the PM will prioritise access for Asian countries (see report below).
Mr Somkid indicated that further support packages for the tourism economy, and other areas involved in external trade, may be in the pipeline and promised that the government would be on hand with support programmes to boost Thailand’s economic prospects through to the beginning of 2021.