Thailand’s Public Health Ministry to consider another 15 southern provinces for tourism zones and proceed to treat Covid-19 as an endemic disease by July

National –

The Thai Ministry of Public Health is planning to include another 15 provinces in the tourism blue zone program and proceed with treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease as planned by July 1st.

Dr. Suthep Petchmark, Inspector General from the Ministry of Public Health Region 12, revealed today, April 24th, that the number of daily infections in many southern provinces in Region 12, including Songkhla, Yala, and Pattani, were decreasing after Songkran from an average of 3,000 cases to 1,000 cases per day.

He was also informed by Dr. Kiatipoom Wongrachit, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, that there were now 15 provinces that were interested and ready to welcome international tourists as a part of the Sandbox Project. But, the matter must be discussed at an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting first.

Dr. Suthep said: “For example, Songkhla was one of the southern provinces that was ready (for the Sandbox/Blue zones) because the number of people who had received the first shot had reached almost 80 percent of its population and almost 30 percent received the booster dose. The prescription of Sandbox provinces would draw the participation of people in the area and nearby provinces as well because they also wanted to restart earning money for a living and be a part to help revive the domestic economy.”

Dr. Suthep Petchmark

He continued that in order for Covid-19 to become endemic in Thailand, the country must be considered from: 1.) The number of infections per case per 100,000 population; 2.) The number of severe cases and their provincial health/medical support; 3.) The mortality rate must be less than 0.1 percent; and 4.) at least 80 percent of the population must be vaccinated, especially among those over 60 years old.

“If no changes were made and no encounter of new mutant variant, it was expected that the endemic disease plan could be implemented on July 1st,” he concluded.


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Nop Meechukhun
National News Writer at The Pattaya News from September 2020 to October, 2022. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.