Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bangkok meets goal to double-jab 70% of population by Nov 1

Bangkok meets goal to double-jab 70% of population by Nov 1

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Of the over 14 million doses administered in the Thai capital Bangkok, 8,132,826 are first jabs, 5,437,553 second jabs and 530,910 third jabs or booster shots. AFP

Bangkok meets goal to double-jab 70% of population by Nov 1

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced on October 19 that 5,437,553 Bangkokians or more than 70 per cent of the city’s population have been double jabbed.

It also said that 80,303 jabs had been administered over the past 24 hours, bringing the total doses used in the capital to 14,101,289 since the vaccination drive kicked off in February.

Of the over 14 million doses administered, 8,132,826 are first jabs, 5,437,553 second jabs and 530,910 third jabs or booster shots.

The BMA’s target was to have 70 per cent of its adult population double-jabbed to build herd immunity before the city reopens to foreigners on November 1.

Based on the latest civil registration records, Bangkok has 7,699,174 residents above the age of 18, and with 5,437,553 people double-jabbed, it has surpassed its target by 48,132.

Bangkok will join 14 other provinces in the pilot phase of reopening Thailand to foreign tourists. The other provinces are Samut Prakan, Krabi, Phang Nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chonburi, Ranong, Chiang Mai, Loei, Buri Ram, Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Rayong and Trat. However, some provinces are only opening destinations popular with tourists.

Under the plan, visitors travelling by air from low-risk countries will not have to quarantine but must prove they have received both jabs of an approved Covid-19 vaccine as well as produce a negative RT-PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours before flying.

However, a recent poll shows that most Thais are against reopening the country because they fear tourists will bring in new infections and not enough locals have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Suan Dusit Poll asked 1,392 respondents what they thought about Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s plan to open the country to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from November 1.

Most respondents (59.86 per cent) rejected the plan, while 60.10 per cent said it was not the right time to reopen the country.

Even after more than 70 per cent of the population has been vaccinated, the respondents said Thailand should only open its doors to foreigners if the outbreak is brought under control and public health facilities are prepared to deal with new variations of the virus.

The survey also showed that most business owners and employees wanted the country to be reopened, though the latter group is also concerned about new infections.

Opening the country from November 1 will give Thailand’s tourism industry a much-needed boost, and positive economic growth can be expected next year if the Covid-19 situation is well-managed, the Kasikorn Research Centre said on October 16.

The centre said the number of foreign arrivals should rise by 64 per cent, especially since the November 1 opening falls within Thailand’s high season.

The centre predicts that 2021 will see a total of 180,000 foreign tourists, 30,000 more than it forecast previously, generating revenue of at least 13.5 billion baht ($400 million).

The research centre also said the key factors drawing visitors to the country include provinces with low infection rates, special tourist visas and sandbox schemes. The Phuket Sandbox scheme launched in July has proved to be very popular among tourists from the US, UK, Germany and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Google’s travel insight data shows that more people have been hunting for hotel or accommodation deals in Thailand. Countries with the highest number of searches include Russia, the US, UK, Germany and India. The search centred around Bangkok, Pattaya City, Koh Samui in Surat Thani and Phuket’s Karon and Patong areas.

The research centre added that the most crucial factor to bring Thailand’s tourism sector back would be to properly manage the pandemic after getting more than 70 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.



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