Thailand prepares to welcome vaccinated tourists from around the world as early as July

The Kingdom is launching its massive vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on Monday, in the hope of seeing travelers return this summer. A plan will be unveiled this week, which includes the opening of Phuket as early as next month.

Thailand launched its massive Covid-19 vaccination campaign on Monday as the country tries to come to terms with a third wave of contamination and is preparing to timidly reopen its borders to international tourists. The kingdom plans to administer some six million injections in June, initially focusing on Bangkok where the third wave began and the tourist island of Phuket.

The campaign comes amid strong criticism of the slowness of the government’s vaccination strategy and concerns about supplies. As of Monday, 25 vaccination sites, including some in shopping malls and supermarkets, were set up in the Thai capital to vaccinate up to 70,000 people a day, mostly with the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine.

Phuket, pilot island

Thailand has managed to keep infections very low throughout 2020 thanks to draconian travel restrictions and rapid isolation of positive cases. But an outbreak started in a nightlife district of Bangkok last month, and the total number of cases has risen sharply to nearly 180,000, and more than 1,200 deaths.

Thailand’s crucial tourism sector has been hampered by strict travel restrictions, with a two-week hotel quarantine for all visitors. Officials hope the vaccination campaign will allow them to ease travel restrictions in the coming months, starting with Phuket in July. According to the plan, which should be formalized this week, fully vaccinated tourists will be able to stay on the island and enjoy its famous beaches without going through quarantine.

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