JAKARTA, Indonesia

Thailand is planning to allow short-term tourists to travel to designated areas in some provinces during their 14-day coronavirus quarantine period, an official said on Tuesday.

However, residents of the provinces must approve the new Alternative State Quarantine scheme before it can be introduced, said Thares Krassanairawiwong, head of the health service support department.

Provinces that are ready to reopen must also make sure that routes for foreign visitors will not be used by local residents, he said.

“Foreign visitors must accept travel routes set by the provinces. Most importantly, they must come from countries with low risk of COVID-19 and no local infections in the last three months,” he explained.

Tourists must stay in home quarantine for 14 days before leaving for Thailand and test negative for COVID-19 three days before departure.

“They have to book flights and accommodation through travel agents only. Hotels where they stay must be hotels with SHA [Safety and Health Administration] standards,” Thares added.

Tourists will be required to use tracking devices and be accompanied by representatives of COVID-19 response agencies at all times.

The official said the new quarantine scheme was part of efforts to boost tourism and help stimulate the economy of Thailand, where 3,643 virus cases, including 3,457 recoveries and 59 deaths, have been reported to date.

Many provinces have shown an interest in the plan, including Chon Buri, Buri Ram, Rayong, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Surat Thani.

Thares said that eligible provinces must have adequate public health systems and hospitals with the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.

According to him, some 2,000 hospital rooms and 13,000 hotel rooms are available for foreign visitors on leisure and business trips.

“We are confident that international travelers will be able to visit Thailand from Oct. 15 onwards. We are ready to reopen,” he said.

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