BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on Wednesday told the media that it has no definite schedule of when to allow international commercial flights to enter Thailand.
“We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in many countries,” said CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop, “Although Thailand is entering into 80 days free from local COVID-19 transmission, it does not mean we will be opening up tourism to other countries that quickly.”
Chula said many countries have experienced the second waves of infection, hence Thailand needs to be cautious about reopening its skies and borders.
The CAAT will need to consult with the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) before deciding whether to open Thai skies to international traffic, Chula said.
CAAT has given the green light for certain groups of foreigners to enter Thailand from Aug. 4.
They include non-Thai nationals with a certificate of permanent residency, including their spouses and children; non-Thai nationals with work permits, including their spouses and children; non-Thai nationals permitted to enter under a special arrangement; and migrant workers whose employers are allowed to bring in workers.
All arrivals will be tested for COVID-19 and must follow CCSA and Department of Disease Control rules, including mandatory two-week quarantine.
New Gov’t Agency to Reboot Economy
The Thai cabinet meeting on Thursday authorized a newly created center to be established to address the economic situation heavily battered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The economic situation administration center, tasked with working in the same way as the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), will be chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The center’s main focus is to promote Thailand’s economic rehabilitation from the pandemic crisis. It will take charge of proposing solutions to tackle economic problems and supervise the government’s economic rehabilitation efforts.
The center will comprise 22 committees with representation from all economic ministers, the interior and labor ministries, the Bank of Thailand’s (BoT) governor and the heads of three large private-sector organizations.
The secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) will be the center’s secretary.
Prime Minister Prayut said that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an enormous toll on all sectors.
“The establishment of the economic situation administration center is essential because the pandemic not only ripped off income to exports and tourism, but the pandemic had led to a slump in domestic employment and business activities generated by the small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Prayut.
Exports and tourism have been the two major contributors to Thailand’s economy.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) earlier predicted that foreign visitors to Thailand this year may plunge to only 2 to 3 million from 40 million in the previous year.
The BoT earlier downgraded its forecast of Thailand’s full-year economic outlook to a 8.1 percent contraction, instead of a 5.3 percent recession as previously forecast.
Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Economic and Business, told Xinhua that like other countries, the Thai government will be faced with challenging tasks to revive the economy.
“As long as the infections continue to spread and no vaccine is available, the Thai economy will remain stagnant,” said Thanavath.