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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Delivered National Television Speech Tonight

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Prime Minister Prayut made some official announcements tonight, he said Thailand will open to foreign tourists as of November 1, they are required to carry RT-PCR test result documents before entering and leaving the country. Tourists from the 10 low-risk countries do not need to be quarantined, but must be fully vaccinated and enter Thailand by air.

The government also aims to allow more countries to travel to Thailand in December, while the next phase is expected to be on January 1, 2022.

Meanwhile, alcohol consumption in restaurants and the reopening of entertainment venues on December 1 will be considered for approval.

Here are the highlights of the Prime Minister’s national speech.

  1. “During the last few weeks, some of Thailand’s major tourist countries have begun easing their travel restrictions on their citizens… With these developments, we must act quickly, yet cautiously, and not miss the opportunity to be some of the end-of-year holidaymakers over the coming months to support many millions of Thai people who earn a living from our tourism, travel and entertainment industries, as well as the many other related industries.”
  2. “I have instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Health to urgently consider within this week to allow international visitors into Thailand without any quarantine obligation from November 1, if they are fully vaccinated and arriving by air from low-risk countries. Visitors must demonstrate that they are Covid19 free at the time of travel with an RT-PCR test performed before leaving their home country and take a test in Thailand. Initially, we will start with at least 10 countries on our low-risk, no-quarantine list, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States of America, and expand that list by December 1, and by December 1. January, go to a very comprehensive list.”
  3. “By December 1, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and the operation of entertainment venues.”
  4. “I would like to acknowledge the achievements of our public health workers, other officials and all citizens for their response to my June call to prepare the country for quarantine-free arrivals within 120 days.
  • “After we passed the 120-day target, extraordinary efforts were made to increase our vaccine stock, and deliveries tripled, from approximately 4 million doses in May to nearly 12 million arriving in July, and then nearly 14 million in August, and now through the end of the year at over 20 million per month, totalling over 170 million doses, way ahead of the goals I had set.
  • “Likewise, our public health staff has worked tirelessly to accelerate vaccinations to support our 120-day goal, and the public has cooperated well to register for vaccinations. As a result, our daily vaccinations tripled in July, from about 80,000 doses a day in May, and continued to increase until Thailand rose to become one of the world’s ten fastest countries to administer the vaccines. We are currently administering more than 700,000 injections per day, sometimes even more than a million injections per day.”
  1. “…Our country was one of the first in the world to act quickly and decisively to deal with the pandemic. With the cooperation of all sectors of society and with everyone joining forces to face this crisis together, we are among the most successful countries in the world in saving lives.”

My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters:
Over the past year and a half, we have faced some of the greatest peacetime challenges our country has ever faced in its history, caused by the Covid19 pandemic, and one that has left no one untouched. and has left no country in the world untouched.

It has also been one of the most painful experiences of my life: to make decisions that balance saving lives with saving livelihoods – a choice that is not always clearly separated, and where we can save lives but can commit lives to the excruciating pain of trying to survive on little or no income; or where we can save our livelihood, but our family, friends and neighbours commit to the loss of human life and the loss of their breadwinner.

In facing this terrible choice, it was my decision that we could not allow a slow, wait-and-see approach to the pandemic and let it claim the lives of so many of our compatriots and women, as we eventually saw happen in so many other countries.

As a result, I acted decisively on the advice of many of our outstanding public health experts to make our country one of the first in the world to act quickly with lockdowns and strict regulations.

With the cooperation of all sectors of society and everyone who has come together to face this crisis together, we are among the most successful countries in the world in saving lives.

But it has come with very great sacrifices of lost livelihoods, lost savings and destroyed businesses – all of which we have given up so that our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends and neighbours are alive today.

The threat of a large-scale, deadly spread of the virus in Thailand is now receding, although the risk of a resurgence of the virus is always present, and even though there are still severe limitations on our hospital and medical staff capacities.

The time has come when we must prepare to face and live with the coronavirus as with other endemic infections and diseases, just as we have learned to live with other diseases with treatments and vaccinations.

I have therefore instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Health to urgently consider within this week to allow international visitors into Thailand without any quarantine obligation from November 1, if they are fully vaccinated and arriving by air from low-risk countries.

All visitors have to do is prove they are Covid19 free at the time of travel with an RT-PCR test done before leaving their home country, and take a test in Thailand, after which they can move freely in Thailand the same way any Thai citizen can do.

Visitors from countries not on the list will of course still be warmly welcomed, but with quarantine and other requirements.

By December 1, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and the operation of entertainment venues with appropriate health precautions to support the revitalization of the tourism and leisure sectors, especially as we approach the New Year period.

I realize that this decision carries a risk. It is almost certain that we will see a temporary increase in severe cases if we relax these restrictions. We will have to monitor the situation very closely and see how we can manage that situation and live with it because I don’t think the many millions that depend on the revenue generated by the travel, leisure and entertainment industries can sustain the devastating blow of the second lost New Year’s holiday period.

But if we see a very dangerous new variant of the virus unexpectedly emerge in the coming months, then of course we also need to act accordingly and proportionately when we see the threat. We know that this virus has taken the world by surprise several times, and we must be prepared to do it again.

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