Phuket villa quarantine celebrated as success. Is Thailand ready for reopening?

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Real Life Phuket

The villa quarantine model has been successfully tested at Phuket's renowned Sri Panwa Resort and now is ready to be rolled out in other Thai provinces from April.

Photo: Sri Panwa Phuket

The first group of 58 travellers have successfully completed the first villa quarantine pilot project and are now free to embark on a one-month tour of the country, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced. The pilot project paves the way for the launch of a larger area quarantine initiative and further re-opening of the country.

“We are delighted by the success of the villa quarantine pilot project that now allows tourists to travel and experience Thailand. It shows confidence in Thailand’s public health system that protects the safety of both international tourists and local people alike, allowing the Ministry [of tourism] to now push through the area quarantine for final approval,” said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has proposed the launch of the area quarantine in five pilot provinces favoured by international travellers – Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao), Chiang Mai and Chon Buri (Pattaya) – where tourists could potentially spend between one to three months.

The Ministry has also urged the Royal Thai Government to begin inoculating tourism personnel in Phuket, Chong Buri (Pattaya), Surat Thani, and Chiang Mai with 50,000 doses of the vaccine allocated for hotel staff first. It has also sought cooperation from the Ministry of Public Health to allocate an additional five million doses of the vaccine that would be available in the third quarter for 2.5 million general public in Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani,  Chiang Mai, and Chon Buri. This is in preparation for the start of ‘vaccine passport’ tourism for inoculated travellers originating from low-risk countries.

Currently, there are 24 Alternative Local Quarantine hotels in Phuket and one Organizational Quarantine hotel with a capacity of 2,752 rooms. The hotels are working together with eight local hospitals – Bangkok Hospital Phuket, Bangkok Hospital Siriroj, Mission Hospital Phuket, Wachira Hospital Phuket, Patong Hospital, Thalang Hospital, Chalong Hospital, and PPAO Hospital.

According to current rules, villa quarantine guests are not allowed out of their rooms for the first five days until the second negative COVID-19 test result. Then they are free to access dining outlets for lunch and dinner, play tennis, attend the fitness centre, go the beach beach, enjoy walking within designated zones, while maintain social distancing and always wearing a mask.

Further plans presume a four-phase reopening: wellness Leisure model from April to May, exclusive travel area from June to September, sandbox from October to December and self quarantine from January 2022 onwards. We will tell you more as soon as the plans are confirmed.