The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s timeline to reopen six major tourist areas – Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai – to foreign tourists who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is going ahead as scheduled in line with the country’s vaccination timeline.
Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ programme, starting from July 1st 2021. Tourists will be required to spend the first seven days on the island, before travelling to other destinations around Thailand.
In preparation to welcome vaccinated foreign tourists, authorities are working on a vaccination programme to safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 for 70% of Phuket’s population, including residents, workers in tourism-related businesses, and migrant workers.
Nationwide, the government is striving to efficiently administer the COVID-19 situation and acquire additional vaccines to reach the target of 100 million doses to vaccinate 50 million people across Thailand by the end of the year.
Thailand started the preliminary vaccination programme in late February with the first 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac and 117,000 doses from AstraZeneca. The inoculation project continued with 800,000 more doses of the Sinovac vaccine in March and one million more in April.
Bangkok, Phuket, Chonburi which includes Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Surat Thani which includes Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, as well as eight other high-risk provinces, were being prioritised in the rollout of the first vaccine doses.
Chemical Engineer Caught Running ‘E’ And Meth Lab In Nonthaburi
A chemical engineer who turned to producing Ecstacy pills and crystal meth at his condo in Nonthaburi was arrested this morning by officers from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
The Saturday morning raid on a building in Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi was led by Police General Manu Makemok, Deputy Commissioner General, Royal Thai Police and Police Lieutenant General Montree Yimyaem, commissioner of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
Inside the apartment, the prime suspect, 42-year-old suspect Patiwet “Heisenberg” Suwankiri was apprehended.
Drug production equipment and chemical precursors were seized along with 20,000 Ecstacy tablets and 50 grams of crystal meth.
Police General Manu said that the Narcotics Suppression Bureau got a tip that there was a group of pill producers who sold E tablets to entertainment venues in Bangkok.
A surveillance operation was set up and pinpointed Prayoon Thapinna as the dealer. He was taken in for questioning and soon after he folded like a deckchair telling cops who “Heisenberg” was.
During questioning “Heisenberg” was evasive saying he sold the drugs to tourists and that he imported the chemical precursors from online dealers.
Police dismissed both explanations as tourism in Thailand is virtually non-existent due to Covid-19 and the chemicals and tools needed to produce the E and meth have been on a banned list for many years.
He did admit to producing the drugs in his apartment saying he used the knowledge from when he studied chemical engineering
Investigators are working to find more people involved in the operation as the set-up was capable of producing around 3,000 tablets per day.
Photo Credit: 77kaoded
CCSA Overturn BMA Order To Reopen Parks, Other Businesses
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has overturned the plan by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to allow five types of businesses and venues, including public parks and beauty salons, to open June 1.
Following the BMA Communicable Disease Committee meeting on Monday it was announceed that restrictions on traditional Thai massage parlours, museums, public parks, botanical gardens, learning centres, spas, nail and beauty salons and tattoo parlours would be lifted.
The news was welcomed by many with business owners getting to work in preperation for the sudden rreopening.
Then came the infamous flip-flop by the government when it was reported the CCSA had put the plan on hold for at least a further 14 days.
No reason was given for the sudden change.
Public Parks In Bangkok Reopening Jun 1
This order was later overturned by the CCSA and the plan has been put on hold for at least a further 14 days.
Following a meeting of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Communicable Disease Committee today, it has been announced that public parks in the capital can reopen from June 1.
The committee, chaired by Governor Aswin, also lifted restrictions on traditional Thai massage parlours, museums, botanical gardens, learning centres, spas, nail and beauty salons and tattoo parlours.
Other establishments currently shuttered are to remain closed until at least June 14, 2021.
The news comes despite the capital reporting over 1,300 Covid-cases on Monday, however, the current crop of clusters are in migrant worker camps and wet markets.
While most welcomed the news that parks will reopen allowing outdoor exercise again, dozens in the expat community continued to grumble that gyms and fitness centres will remain closed.