Thailand Maybe, Possibly, OK a Little, Begins to Re-Open to Tourists

Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic many Asia countries have been lauded for their handling of the crisis. Thailand, a country heavily reliant on tourism, has done a stellar job. They closed up early, went into lockdown quickly and flattened curve. And now it seems as if Thailand maybe, possibly, OK a little, begins to re-open to tourists. And we’re thrilled.

The Thailand Board of Investment announced that the country is taking additional steps in its reopening process, allowing 11 categories of travelers to enter the country. Thailand recently ranked 2nd out of 184 countries on PEMANDU Associates’ Global COVID-19 Recovery Index for its management of the crisis.

Prior to the spread of COVID-19, the World Economic Forum ranked Thailand 6th in the world for pandemic preparedness in their 2019 Global Health Security Index. With a strong national health system, a regional healthcare network and robust life sciences industry, Thailand has surpassed pandemic management and recovery expectations, emerging as a best practice example for its management of the COVID-19 emergency.

As of June 30, Thailand has had 36 days without community transmission in the country.

To mitigate health risks posed to its region’s recovery by inaccessible vaccine prices, the Thai Government has invested in the development of a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine which will be provided to Pakistan and ASEAN members, including Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

A study of this COVID-19 vaccine prototype in monkeys, performed by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Center of Thailand, has been successful, according to the NRCT. Thailand is now preparing for human clinical trials in October, with production of the vaccine projected to start in Mid-2021. Thailand’s vaccine uses mRNA, similar to a vaccine being developed in the U.S., and Thai researchers have worked in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to utilize this science.

Following its success in managing the spread of the virus, Thailand is beginning its reopening process and is beginning to ease travel restrictions. Thailand announced 11 categories of travelers may enter the country as of July 1st, 2020. As part of the reopening process, during the COVID-19 crisis, Thailand is requiring a Certificate of Entry (COE) for non-citizens. (A link with information about the 11 categories of travelers able to gain re-entry into Thailand can be found below)

“The fact that we are able to open our borders to investors and business travelers is a good sign,” said Vorawan Norasucha, Director of the Thailand Board of Investment New York office, “We are optimistic that Thailand will continue to keep the virus under control and soon we will be able to lift travel bans for all visitors.”

“The progress that has been made on the vaccine is very promising,” added Ms. Norasucha, “Post- pandemic, we anticipate that Thailand will play a larger role in the global healthcare supply chain.”

“Companies are recognizing that Thailand has a world-class life sciences industry.” 

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