Pattaya tourism businesses and hospitals are preparing for hopefully more international foreign tourists from the resuming Sandbox and Test & Go scheme on February 1st. However, they are also preparing for the eventuality that at least some will be positive for Covid-19. The current goal is to make this process as smooth as possible and not “force” tourists to expensive hospitals or undesirable quarantine centers if the patient is not seriously ill.
First, as a reference to the program:
The CCSA agreed to reimplement the “Test&Go” scheme for vaccinated international arrivals under nearly quarantine-free conditions. Two RT-PCR tests are required on Day 1 and Day 5 of the arrival. Travelers must stay at SHA+ hotels while waiting for the PCR results.
Now, the update:
A meeting was held at the Pattaya City Hall and was led by the director of Chonburi Tourism and Sports Mrs. Ampai Sakdanukulchit Sliwinski and Pattaya area tourism business operators.
Mrs. Ampai told TPN media, “We are seeking the best way to assist international tourists who arrive in Pattaya and Chonburi area if their Covid-19 test was positive with mild or asymptomatic symptoms. We understand one of the biggest “fears” of tourists is testing positive and potentially being forced into places (hospitals, quarantine centers, etc) that they don’t wish to go to, especially being fully vaccinated and having mild symptoms or less.”
“There are 267 hotels in Chonburi with an SHA (Safety and Health Administration) certificate (Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration) and 177 hotels with SHA Extra Plus. Most SHA Extra Plus hotels are in the Pattaya area. The extra plus means the hotel has a partnership with a local hospital in terms of handling Covid-19 positive patients. Under the new rules, tourists MUST stay at an extra+ hotel for their Day One and Day Five testing.” Ampai explained.
“Five percent of hotels rooms will be set aside for Hotel Room Isolation at extra plus hotels. This way, tourists can decrease their expenses instead of checking in to ‘hospitels’ (quarantine centers) or being forced to potentially expensive private hospitals and this helps relieve a lot of stress from tourists.” Ampai added.
SHA Extra Plus hotels must reach multiple standards which are:
- Hotels must have a separate area for patients/guests.
- Hotels must provide three meals a day as well as all extras like toothpaste, etc. All possible items must be able to be provided by the hotel to limit delivery services or people bringing supplies for patients.
- Hotels and hospitals musts provide services together at the same location without forcing the patient into ambulances, travel, etc at their expense.
- Hotels must provide fundamental medical equipment. (Again, avoid travel or charging patients extra)
- Hospitals must provide medical staffers for patients and communicate with patients every day.
“We are going to suggest the plan to the Thai Covid Center and central government for approval. Our goal is that if a traveler is positive for Covid-19 and mild or asymptomatic they are given every opportunity to stay in the hotel room of their choice versus being forced to hospitals or quarantine centers.” Ampai concluded.