Having been one of the first countries to combat the coronavirus outbreak at bay, the kingdom of Thailand is now opening its doors to international tourists wherever they come from and whatever the virus situation their country may have.
The Bangkok Post reported on Thursday that Thailand has amended its Special Tourist Visa (STV) long-stay program to allow the expansion of its coverage to the whole world in a bid to support the ailing tourism industry which its economy was heavily reliant on.
Previously, STV was only offered to tourists from low-risk countries but the stringent conditions were blamed for the low volume of travelers. According to the report, only 825 people from 29 countries visited Thailand with only six yachts used.
Incoming travelers, however, would still be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, according to deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek.
In addition, the government has also resolved to extend the stay period for yacht visitors holding an STV for 30 days, bringing the allowable stay now to 60 days.
Meanwhile, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged the public to stay calm amid rumors that the country was experiencing a second wave of the outbreak.
He said that a small group of infected Thais had illegally sneaked back into the country and visited places, which merely prompted routine checks to ensure that they had not infected anyone else.
Chan-o-cha said that people should not panic as it would only worsen the situation.
He cited for instance several hotel bookings that have been canceled in recent weeks due to overreaction to media reports of the possible super-spreader.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chakrarat Pittayawonganon of the Disease Control Department claimed that those being treated for COVID-19 were four medical workers who were infected at alternative state quarantine facilities and private hospitals in Bangkok.
On Tuesday, health authorities recorded 19 new infections, one of which was an asymptomatic man in the northern province of Chiang Rai who became the 39th person to have caught the virus at an entertainment venue in the Burmese border town of Tachileik. He was said to have sneaked back into the country illegally.
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