As the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, prepares to relax measures this weekend for phase two of the re-opening plan in Thailand, many in the Government are already looking ahead to the future planned phases, which hold the highest risk venues according to the CCSA.
Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the Spokesman for the CCSA, discussed this weekend the concerns and measures being taken by the government in each phase and the fear of the potential of a so called “Second Wave”.
He stated that the medical professionals with the CCSA see three particular scenarios currently, one with strict lock-down measures, like currently, one with relaxed or medium measures like will be taking effect from tomorrow, and one with everything open, including the hospitality and entertainment industry (Not including opening borders). Each scenario has different levels of risk and potential of spread, with the third scenario the riskiest and the one that could overwhelm hospitals. He and other medical experts with the CCSA are confident that even if cases rise during the second scenario, with malls and major businesses re-open, that the Thai medical structure can handle the situation. However, they admit to being “very nervous” about the next phases.
Dr Taweesin stated that although the previously announced plan was for four phases, with the final phase scheduled for mid June in which “everything would be open”, that he would caution that this depends on several factors, not just number of cases found nationally. He also said that it was possible that certain types of the riskiest gatherings or businesses could be pushed back past mid June, without stating what those specific venues were.
Dr. Taweesin said the next two weeks of the Second Phase would be critical for seeing how the situation was in the country in terms of local spread, although they were feeling “cautiously optimistic.” How the next two weeks turned out in terms of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, especially locally spread, would be a major decision maker for what businesses and venues to open in Phase Three.
The CCSA has also said that the next phases, even with many rules and regulations involved, would need to ensure that tracing and tracking of potential customers were taking place as many of the venues, such as nightclubs or concerts, would be “difficult” to properly socially distance, especially with alcohol involved. The CCSA as a result has developed a new tracing and tracking application that will likely, but not yet confirmed, be required for high risk venues.
The CCSA and Thai Government has already begun to discuss the third phase, which is likely to include at least SOME entertainment venues, with various experts and those with a lot of experience in the field, including the current Minister of Culture and former Pattaya Mayor.
Pattaya City, whose economy is nearly all composed of the hospitality, tourism and entertainment industry, has not had a single recorded case of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in 32 days, however, due to the cautious phased approach by the Government to re-open businesses, remains closed, with food lines stretching into the thousands locally as many Pattaya residents remain out of work.