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Thailand approves quarantine waiver for tourists, orders more vaccines

Fri 26th March, 2021 9:43am
BANGKOK, March 26 (Reuters) - Thai authorities on Friday
agreed to allow foreigners inoculated against the coronavirus to
travel to its biggest holiday island without undergoing
quarantine, and announced a new order for five million more
doses of AstraZeneca's  AZN.L  vaccine. 
    With arrival numbers plummeting this past year,
tourism-reliant Thailand is racing to secure vaccines for its
population and reopen the country to foreigners in a pilot
project for vaccine passports.*:nL4N2LN2IZ
    "If we can inoculate 50% to 60% of the population we can
open the country safely and move the economy and tourism
forward," senior health official Kiattiphum Wongraijit said.
    Its main vaccination drive is expected to start in June,
with the goal of immunising half of its population by year-end. 
    It will receive an additional five million AstraZeneca
doses, as well as five million more doses procured from Sinovac
Biotech's  SVA.O , the health ministry said on Friday.
    That would take its overall vaccine order to 73 million
    The coronavirus task force on Friday gave the green light to
Phuket, a major tourist destination, to receive vaccinated
visitors directly from July, without subjecting them to
quarantine, after the island inoculates 70% of its residents.
    Thailand has until now made entry requirements strict,
including mandatory quarantine, which has devastated tourism,
but helped limit infections to just 28,577 so far, with 92
    From next month, the hotel quarantine period will be halved
to seven days for fully vaccinated visitors to Phuket, Pattaya,
Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Phang Nga and Krabi, Tourism Authority of
Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told a news conference. 
    By the fourth quarter, the quarantine waiver is expected to
be implemented in five holiday destinations, he said.
    The central bank expects to see 3 million foreign tourists
this year, compared to nearly 40 million in 2019 before the
virus struck. 

 (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng;
Editing by Martin Petty)
 ((, Twitter: @ChayutSet;
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