The week ahead in Thailand and Pattaya news: Thai Covid Center to hold major meeting about Omicron, Test and Go, potential restrictions

PHOTO: Sophon Cable TV (STV)
Thailand-

The following is our weekly feature in which we take a look at the top developing stories and things to follow over the next week. We are focusing on what is happening for the first week of January 2022, ending January 8th, 2021.

As we publish dozens of stories a week, this allows our readers to get a quick glimpse of the most important stories taking place in Thailand and Pattaya and to monitor and follow for the week ahead, as chosen by our editorial team. Let’s get right into it with the biggest news of the week and what important stories to follow and look for this week that are likely to see further developments:

Thai Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to hold a major meeting early next week about the Covid-19 situation.

This is, without a doubt, the biggest story of next week and one that both residents of Thailand and tourists will be watching very carefully. Thailand is set to evaluate its currently paused “Test and Go” program on January 4th, which will be on Tuesday of next week. The CCSA, led by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha and advised by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, will make decisions on if the current suspension of the program will continue or change in any way. As a reference, here is our original article on the suspension of the program with more details:
Thai government suspends “Thailand Pass” “Test & Go” scheme to prevent Omicron infections, effective today
There is no clear sign of what will happen next week, although business operators and top doctors and scientists are clearly at opposite ends on what “should” happen in their opinions. Thailand also suspended all Sandboxes, except for Phuket, which drew protests especially from Pattaya and Samui which are highly reliant on tourism. Both of them have recently requested to be restored to Sandboxes, which allows foreign tourists to enter and stay in the area for seven days while staying at qualified hotels and undergoing Covid-19 tests. However, leading doctors and scientists have actually called for even harsher entry measures, with some like Dr. Thira Woratanarat from Chulalongkorn University calling for the return of fourteen-day quarantines in hotel rooms as a precaution as Omicron spreads around the world. Chonburi Public Health doctors held a meeting this afternoon, January 1st, 2022, with business operators in Pattaya to discuss their request for a Sandbox but expressed concerns as well, especially with a “free-roaming” sandbox and not one where a person must stay at a resort or hotel. This is despite Chonburi, led by Pattaya, being the most fully vaccinated place in Thailand according to the Ministry of Public Health. Pattaya has also begun a booster program in earnest. Besides evaluating Test and Go next week, Thailand’s CCSA will also be looking at Covid-19 restrictions, with fears from many on social media that due to rising cases of Omicron locally in Thailand, including in Chonburi and Banglamung, that more measures may take place regionally. However, the General in charge of the CCSA’s panel that mandates restrictions shot down rumors of a national lockdown yesterday. He did not, however, dismiss the potential of local or regional measures. The CCSA may also consider an upcoming long-promised decision around the legal, official reopening of Thailand’s nightlife and entertainment sector. Unofficially, many have reopened as “restaurants” or other hybrid venues in the meantime, but in terms of legal openings bars, nightclubs, pubs, gogos, and similar places have been legally closed in most of Thailand since early April of last year. It is unlikely with Omicron concerns that the proposal to let them legally open around January 16th will go ahead, however, and the Prime Minister had even recently stated that the opening may be delayed again. For now, all we can do is watch and wait for news early next week. Stay tuned here at TPN media for the latest, factual, neutral news.  
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Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of the Pattaya News English since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America. His background is in HR and Operations and has written about news and Thailand for a decade now. He has lived in Pattaya for over seven years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail Pattayanewseditor@gmail.com About Us: https://thepattayanews.com/about-us/ Contact Us: https://thepattayanews.com/contact-us/