More restrictions on preventing the spread of the Covid-19 will be removed from the Thai capital Bangkok early next week, the prime minister announced on Sunday.
Businesses were allowed to open on Monday by museums and historic sites, parks and botanical gardens, beauty parlors, nail salons, massage parlors – but only foot massage – and beauty salons, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Saturday on his Facebook page.
Thailand is facing a third wave of coronavirus that began in April, and has reported more than 80% of the country’s 193,105 confirmed cases and 90% of the 1,431 related deaths.
Bangkok officials have tried to open these centers earlier, but were rejected by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, a national organization that oversees the response of the virus.
Thanduth said the restrictions were being lifted because the virus was spreading at a controlled rate and many Bangkok residents had been vaccinated, especially in the re-opening sectors. However, health officials on Saturday announced 3,277 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, the first time the daily number had risen to more than 3,000 since June 3, when 3,886 cases were reported.
Thailand launched a mass vaccination campaign on June 7 after the Thanduth government was widely criticized for failing to get timely and adequate supplies. Vaccines for more people across the country were introduced as local brand AstraZeneca was the first to support the supply of Sinovac vaccine imported from China. The Thanduth government says it is negotiating deals to buy more drugs, including those of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson.
Thanduth in a Facebook post also stated that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration and Cabinet would still need to grant permission to keep the southern island of Phuket to allow vaccinated immigrants to be excluded, which could be started. July 1.
The plan, which will keep visitors from high-risk countries isolated from the island section for 14 days until they can move elsewhere in Thailand, is known as Phuket’s sandbox. It is considered a major step forward in reviving the major but thriving tourism industry and will serve as a model for other tourist attractions.
Prior to the epidemic, Phuket was the second most popular destination in the country after Bangkok. By 2019, it has welcomed nearly 10 million foreign visitors and generated 470 billion baht ($ 15 billion) in revenue.
According to the Phuket Hotel Association, more than 50,000 employees in its hospitality sector lost their jobs last year.