Thailand is seeing its highest cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, yet the country will resume local flights in high-risk areas around the nation.
Thailand has started to allow some domestic flights to and from Bangkok after cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed this summer.
The nation’s aviation authority suggested the move was to boost economic activity after economic damage from lockdowns.
The New COVID-19 Restrictions
The announcement comes after Thailand eased restrictions in 29 high-risk provinces from September, and that includes allowing more provincial travel and the reopening of shopping malls.
According to reports, local flights can resume at 75 percent capacity and travelers will need to provide proof of vaccination and COVID-19 testing results.
The resumption of domestic flights will begin next week.
The COVID-19 Situation In Thailand
For the vast majority of 2020, Thailand had very low cases of COVID-19 compared to much of the world. Then, the Delta variant started, and Thailand has endured lockdowns, high daily cases, and nationwide restrictions on travel.
At the moment, cases have slightly dropped in the country. As a result, many parts of Thailand are slowly reopening as COVID-19 cases drop.
Thailand’s daily cases are at a 7-day average of 18,000. That’s a decrease of around 3,000 in the previous 10 days. Thailand has recorded a total of 1.16 million cases and has had over 10,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Thailand’s vaccination rates are below much of the Western world. The country has only fully vaccinated 9.5 percent of its population and has given over 28.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccinations overall.
The Current Restrictions In Thailand
Thailand currently has many restrictions, and these vary in different parts of the country. The country has partially opened its islands, including Phuket and Koh Samui to travelers.
According to local reports, the Sandbox schemes have been a success and the country is broadening the Sandbox scheme to include Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay in Krabi; Khao Lak and Koh Yao in Phang-Nga; and Surat Thani’s three main islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao.
Although the scheme offers an opportunity to enter the country without having quarantine, the restrictions are tough and often rather confusing. As a result, many travelers are waiting for Thailand to return back to some normality before visiting the beautiful nation.
Restrictions around Thailand include:
- Certain areas only have essential shops open and restaurants can only offer take-outs
- There has been a curfew on 13 high-risk areas, including Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.
- The government has closed entertainment venues and bars around most of Thailand
- Locals and foreigners must wear masks at all times in public places, including indoor and outdoor spaces
- Most shops, restaurants, and bars in Patong have closed because of high cases and a lack of tourists
Thailand was hoping to fully reopen by October, but the Delta variant has ruined Thailand’s plans to allow millions of vaccinated visitors into the country. Chaing Mai also paused its reopening scheme until October because of the current situation.
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, and the nation attracted almost 40 million visitors in 2019.
It looks like entering Thailand will be much easier next year, yet a winter holiday might be off the cards at this rate.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com