In order to revitalize its tourism industry, the most popular Thai resort island renowned for its beaches, Phuket will completely reopen to vaccinated visitors in October.
More than a hundred of companies – including the Chamber of Commerce of Phuket and the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) – intend to pool funds to vaccinate 70 percent of the population of more than 18 years of age without waiting for government deployment.
They believe that when the local population hits herd immunity, it will be safe to open up the area for international visitors.
The proposal, which would require federal approval, also aims to waive the compulsory 14-day quarantine requirement, a significant concern for many prospective travellers. This will encourage thousands of vaccinated tourists, particularly from Europe and the US, who usually spend their winter months in Phuket, for holiday.
This comes as more research shows that vaccines are successful in preventing not only infection but also spread among vaccine recipients.
If Thailand accepts proposals to drop all quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers, it wouldn’t be the first. The Seychelles, Iceland, and Romania are among early adopters of the policy, and Hawaii is in talks to initiate a similar policy within months.
Meanwhile, our country is expected to need a year to achieve herd immunity for the coronavirus through the National Covid-19 Immunization Plan, one of the largest vaccination programmes in Malaysia.
Malaysia is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech by the end of February with frontline staff being among early recipients of the vaccine and after that, it will become one of the largest vaccination exercise in Malaysia. The administration of the vaccine will be implemented in three phases and will run until February 2022.