Politicians Continue to Wrestle with Covid-19 Rules and Regulations

Editorial by Floyd Cowan, Editor-in-Chief Asian Journeys

  • 11:31 AM, 11 Jun, 2021

MIKE SMITH PHOTO - Pullman Phuket

Editorial by Floyd Cowan, Editor-in-Chief Asian Journeys

If you are feeling a little dizzy these days it is only understandable as the world is spinning in different directions as it opens up - doesn’t open up - creates more restrictions - loosens restrictions - as politicians try to balance health and economic concerns as they struggle to gain control of the pandemic.  

There has been great anticipation of the opening of Phuket to international tourists who have been vaccinated, but leave it to the politicians to throw a damp blanket on it. Tourists want to visit and the locals need the economy to return. And as I was writing this I got the news that Patong Mayor Chalermsak Maneesri has stated that pubs, bars and other entertainment venues in Phuket will remain closed for the July 1 reopening of the island to receiving vaccinated international tourists.  Why? At a meeting of officials, they decided to keep the venues closed “as we had a cluster from that kind of venue.” A cluster of unvaccinated people. As of early June, about 3.7% of the country’s population had been vaccinated. This will certainly slow the reopening as I am sure people will delay their visit until they can fully enjoy their holiday. What’s a holiday with at least one hangover?

MIKE SMITH PHOTO - Getting High as a Kite in Phuket

And counting on those who are going to go regardless, Thai Airways International, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines Emirates and EL AL are either already flying or preparing to get wheels up from July. As of yet, as Singapore holds talks with Australia and has an agreement with Hong Kong on hold to create a travel bubble, residents cannot yet leave the country without being quarantined upon return.

When New South Wales, Australia Premier Gladys Berejiklian derided Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s warning that mass vaccination won’t lead to the opening of the borders as “the biggest load of rubbish I ever heard,” it seems that she was right. Australia is now considering allowing “Australians who have been vaccinated against Covid to be able to leave the country and return with less strict quarantine requirements under a plan that could be trialled within six weeks,” the Guardian Reported June 1. As of early June only 2.2% of Australians have been vaccinated. You can read the full Guardian story here. 

While some countries are opening up, the UK is removing countries from its green list. UK travellers could visit green listed countries and not have to quarantine upon return. Portugal, a very popular destination for UK vacationers, was removed from the UK's green travel list on June 1, 2021, and moved to the amber list, meaning travellers should not visit and returnees must quarantine for 10 days. The action was taken due to rising coronavirus cases and concern over a Nepal mutation of the Indian variant.  Egypt, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka are among seven countries that will join the red list that has the toughest travel rules.

MIKE SMITH PHOTO - Patong Beach, Phuket

If you are planning to fly to the USA you should know that all air passengers arriving in the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.

If you are interested in what is happening in South America Ecuador, Peru and Argentina have opened their International borders. Chile will open International borders June 30, 2021. As long as Chile and Argentina keep their wine exports flowing I’m happy. 

MIKE SMITH PHOTO - Mural in Phuket

Phuket Reopening – are you ready? 

Thailand is going ahead with its plans to open the island of Phuket to leisure travellers on July 1, 2021 and the Tourism Association of Thailand (TAT) is providing information for those wishing to visit. 

The TAT Newsroom is providing regular updates on Phuket’s preparations to safely reopen to foreign tourists ranging from entry requirements and public health procedures to local vaccinations and hygiene standards. Thailand is going ahead with its plans to open the island of Phuket to leisure travellers

Click Here for more information

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