Bangkok: Thailand is considering reopening the country in mid October is going ahead despite a surge in Covid-19 infections, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said. He said, "The plan is still there. We have been trying every way to clean up our country, though the virus is still around. We hope in the coming few months we can welcome our old friends," Anutin, who is also the Health Minister, said on Friday.
There have been calls for the suspension of the campaign, although the tourism industry remains a lifeline for many people of Thailand. To curb the spread of infections, Phuket City will ban travel from the rest of the country to the resort island from August 3 to 16, but overseas visitors will not be banned. The Deputy Prime Minister said the authorities are well prepared and confident to solve the problems that could occur in the Phuket Sandbox campaign. The campaign was launched on July 1, allowing fully vaccinated tourists to move freely on the island with no quarantine upon arrival.
The Deputy Prime Minister urged the people to take vaccines as soon as possible. "Regardless of any reason, having vaccines is far better than not." On Friday, Thailand reported 17,345 new cases and 117 additional fatalities, raising the total number of infections to 578,375 and the cumulative deaths to 4,679.