Businesspeople and experts will be the first group of foreigners allowed to re-enter Thailand next month under the travel bubble model, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Friday.
Mr Anutin revealed the timetable after discussing a travel bubble with Japanese ambassador to Thailand Nishida Kazuya at Government House.
He said that ambassadors of many countries would discuss travel bubbles with him to allow trips between the countries in a manner that can keep coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) at bay.
“People should not panic because tourists will have not been allowed in yet. Businesspeople and experts will arrive first,” Mr Anutin said.
During his meeting with the Japanese ambassador, Mr Anutin said they discussed the requirement for Japanese visitors to clearly set their stay duration and whereabouts. They would not be allowed to travel in the country freely. Besides, they must have fit-to-fly health certificates and report to the companies where they would work, Mr Anutin said.
“Without a movement, the economy would stall. Covid-19 does not kill the economy but the immobility of businesspeople does… We try to start the travel bubble in July,” he said.
Mr Anutin said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was aware of the plan and stressed that no one would be allowed to arrive in disguise of businesspeople and go on vacation in the country.
The prime minister also told relevant officials to prioritise public safety in efforts to push the travel bubble policy. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration should consider the plan next week, Mr Anutin said.
Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said that the travel bubble started with businesspeople, skilled workers, machinery experts, foreign patients, teachers of international schools and those seeking work permits in the country.
About 20,000 people have registered for such visits. The health system could handle 20,000-30,000 such visitors, he said.