A flight carrying 25 tourists touched down at Phuket airport on Thursday morning on 1st July as the island reopened to vaccinated foreign tourists under the quarantine-free scheme. On the same day, Thailand recorded a record amount of COVID deaths with 57 people dying from the virus.
A total of 249 passengers on flights from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Singapore are expected to land on the island, where sandy beaches have been relatively deserted since the virus hit. Tourism makes up almost a fifth of the Thai economy, and the Covid-19 pandemic has led to its worst performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The first 25 travelers underwent screening processes on arrival. All passengers followed Covid-19 screening measures at the airport, which included temperature and vaccination check. All were required to download Thailand Plus and Mor Chana apps.
They went through immigration and customs procedures before taking swab samples for RT-PCR testing. They later boarded vehicles to their hotels where they will wait 24 hours for the test results. If the results are negative, they would be able to go to other places on the island. If they are positive, they would be immediately taken to hospitals.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, together with cabinet ministers and senior health officials, arrived to the resort island at 9.45am to meet officials and health volunteers there but he did not meet the tourists “I’m very glad to meet you today. It’s a day we’ve been waiting for. As today is the starting day, everybody should support it. Everything depends on everyone. Many thanks for all officials for their hard work and sacrifice. Thank you all, doctors, nurses and health volunteers. You get what you do,” Gen Prayut told them.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: REUTERS
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