Thai Prime Minister visits Samui island to monitor health screening processes at international airport before officially reopening to foreign tourists on special tourist visas

PHOTO: Naewna

Surat Thani –

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’Cha has paid a visit to Samui Island today, November 2, before traveling to Phuket Island for a cabinet retreat with the committee tomorrow.

The Prime Minister has visited Samui International Airport this morning to assess the health measures in the airport to prevent the spread of Covid-19 before officially reopening to welcome a limited number of foreign tourists from very low risk Covid19 countries like China under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme in the near future.

PHOTO: Thai Post

Upon arrival, the Prime Minister has monitored the screening processes at the airport for foreign tourists who could enter the country in accordance with the health policy proposed by the Ministry of Public Health.

Prayuth then inspected the management of Alternative Local State Quarantine facilities (ALSQ) at the Sheraton Samui Resort and the traveler tracking system at the Samui Smart City Command Center.

According to the Koh Samui District of Public Health, at least 7 hotels with more than 200 hotel rooms on the island have agreed to join the Alternative Local State Quarantine program and welcome STV tourists.

PHOTO: Naewna

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told the Associated Press that the Prime Minister has stressed the Ministry to strictly prepare for potential groups of foreigners since Koh Samui and Phuket are some of the most popular destinations among tourists around the world.

Anutin stated: “The Prime Minister’s short trip to Samui island today is a demonstration of the process that foreign tourists with a Special Tourist Visa would have to go through as soon as they arrived at Thai airports.”

“If their body temperature is over 37.3 degrees Celsius or is found with suspicious symptoms defined by the Patient Under Investigation (PUI), they will be investigated in an isolation room before being transferred to a local hospital for undergoing treatment.”

PHOTO: Bangkokbiznews

The Special Tourist Visa (STV) has been implemented since September for foreign tourists who want to travel to Thailand during the global Covid-19 pandemic. The visa applicants are required to conduct several medical tests, including Fit-to-Fly Medical Certificates, which states that they are tested negative for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The individual applicants are responsible to pay for their own Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) or Alternative Local State Quarantine(ALSQ) accommodations and preferred chartered or private flights before agreeing to travel in the country.

More details of the Special Tourist Visa fees and additional charges can be found HERE. So far, the plan seems mostly limited to Chinese tourists from areas with no official cases of Covid-19 in months.

Currently, there are reportedly hundreds of Chinese tourists who are planning to visit Bangkok and its vicinity under the STV scheme. More of them are expected to apply for the so-called special visa and arrive in the country during November, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

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