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By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, Sept 27 -- Effective November 1, fully vaccinated tourists and travelers heading to Bangkok and nine provinces in Thailand will be exempted from the two-week mandatory quarantine.
The waiver covers tourist destinations like Krabi, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangnga, Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Jomtien and Bang Sare in Chonburi, Hua Hin (Prachuap Khiri Khan), and Koh Phayam (Ranong).
It is the latest move to revive Thailand's tourism industry hit hard by COVID-19.
The move comes after it was announced starting October 1, Thailand will halve its 14-day mandatory quarantine to seven days for fully vaccinated visitors while travellers without jab arriving by air would be subjected to 10-day quarantine and those arriving by land would undergo 14-day quarantine.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha who chaired the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting today approved the measures.
At a press conference, CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said also effective October 1, Bangkok and 28 provinces at maximum and strict controlled areas or "dark red zones” will see the reopening of more businesses and services.
They include cinemas, spas, libraries, beauty salons and clinics, tattoo parlors, nail salons and sports venues, he said adding that the nightly curfew will be reduced by one hour from 10 pm to 4 am.
Taweesin said the state of emergency will be extended to November 30 and it is pending cabinet approval.
Following the success in "Phuket Sandbox” and "Samui Plus” launched in July, tourism dependent Thailand is pushing to reopen more of its popular tourist destinations to vaccinated travelers to revive its tourism industry which was hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, Thailand drew nearly 40 million visitors but the figure plummeted to 6.7 million last year.
Earlier, in was anticipated that Thailand’s plans to reopen Bangkok on Oct 1 will probably be delayed following the failure to meet the target of fully vaccinating 70 per cent of the adult population.
To date, Thailand has administered 50.56 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since its vaccination drive kicked off on Feb 28.
Meanwhile, Taweesin said Thailand is to procure 2.79 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, 165,000 AstraZeneca doses from Spain and 400,000 AstraZeneca doses from Hungary.
Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 10,288 new COVID-19 cases and 101 fatalities, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 1,571,926 and 16,369 deaths to date.
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