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Thailand plans to halve quarantine for vaccinated foreign visitors as reopening may be delayed



Thailand is betting on the return of foreign tourists to revive its economy.PHOTO: EPA-EFE Published 2 hours ago


BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Tourism-reliant Thailand is planning to slash a mandatory quarantine period for vaccinated international travellers to seven days to boost its economy as a wider reopening is seen delayed by a low vaccination rate.


The reduction in quarantine from the current 14 days will help boost Thailand's economy and tourism, according to Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control.


If a shorter isolation period is approved by the nation's Covid-19 task force, it could be effective from Oct 1, he said.


Under the proposed rules, international travellers with vaccine certificates will still need to be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival and before leaving the quarantine, according to Dr Opas.


Visitors without jab certificates arriving by air will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine, while those arriving by land will have to complete a 14-day quarantine.


Thai officials have signalled a delay to previously announced plans to scrap the quarantine for visitors to several provinces, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai from Oct 1, citing their failure to meet the 70 per cent vaccination threshold for local residents.


Some tourist destinations, including the resort island of Phuket, already allow inoculated visitors to enter without quarantine.


Thailand is betting on the return of foreign tourists to revive its economy as the sector generated more than US$60 billion (S$81 billion) from about 40 million visitors in 2019.

Edited by Yamato
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Thailand's cybersecurity negligence causes personal data breaches
Data law delay blamed for accidental release of records of 106m tourists



Thailand's cybersecurity readiness is being questioned amid reports that tourists' personal details were recently exposed online. (Nikkei montage/Reuters/AP)
MASAYUKI YUDA, Nikkei staff writerSeptember 24, 2021 13:26 JST


BANGKOK -- Thailand's cybersecurity readiness has come under question, after reports that tourists' personal details were recently exposed online, potentially hurting a much-needed recovery of the key sector.


The information of around 106 million visitors to Thailand was accessible to all on the internet, according to cybersecurity research firm Comparitech earlier this week. The database was discovered by Bob Diachenko, one of the company's researchers on Aug. 22. Thai authorities removed the data the next day, after being alerted by Diachenko.


The 200-gigabyte database contained each visitor's full name, sex, passport number, residency status, visa type, Thai arrival card number, and date of arrival in Thailand. Dates on the records ranged from 2011 to this year.


"We do not know how long the data was exposed prior to being indexed," Comparitech said. The National Cybersecurity Agency of Thailand confirmed the breach, but said it had not found any attempts to sell the data on the internet.


The breach comes at a particularly awkward time for Thailand when it is aiming to gradually reopen to visitors who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Phuket, an island in the south, is its so-called sandbox experiment, having welcomed 35,068 tourists since it fully opened its doors to vaccinated visitors in July. 



Phuket, an island in the south of Thailand, has been open to vaccinated foreign tourists since July but there are now fears that poor cybersecurity could hinder a recovery in the sector.    © Reuters


The government now wants to open five more provinces including Bangkok from October to vaccinated tourists. But that plan hangs in the balance, as the vaccination program in Bangkok and those provinces is not expanding at the rate the government

had hoped to make viable any reopening. 


Reviving tourism is vital to the recovery of Southeast Asia's second largest economy, asthe sector and related businesses accounted for 20% of Thailand's gross domestic product before the pandemic hit. Tourists might now be put off by Thailand's poor cybersecurity.


In large part, the data breach can be blamed on the delayed implementation of the personal data protection act. That act was approved by the former junta government in February 2019 and was scheduled to come into full force in May 2020, but was twice postponed to give organizations time and financial room to ramp up efforts. It is now expected to be enacted on June 1, 2022.


Had the law been brought in as initially planned, both the public and private sectors would have upped their game in cybersecurity. Under the act, breaches must promptly be reported to the National Cybersecurity Agency, or parties face fines of 200,000 baht ($5,960). Organizations that have been hacked must show proof of proper defenses against cyberattacks, or face penalties under the law. 


The urgency of implementation has been brought to the fore by recent cyberattacks on companies. CP Freshmart, a retail business arm of Charoen Pokphand Foods, said on Sept. 7 that the system containing user information was hacked. Around 594,585 items, including passwords, full names, mobile phone numbers, emails, and addresses, were put up for sale on a black market for data. 


The company insisted that no credit card and financial information was stolen. Charoen Pokphand Group is Thailand's largest conglomerate.


Regional airline Bangkok Airways was another recent victim. It sent out an email to some customers on Aug. 28, informing them that passenger names, nationalities, phone numbers, emails, addresses, passport details, historical travel and some credit card information had been stolen.



Regional airline Bangkok Airways said recently that customer information had been stolen.   © Reuters

Indonesia has also recently suffered similar embarrassments. In early September, Indonesian President Joko Widodo's COVID-19 vaccine certificate was leaked online, including his national identity number, the type of vaccine he received, and the time at which he received it. The data was accessible on the Pedulilindungi app, the government's official vaccine monitoring app.


The government sought to play down concerns over data protection on that app by saying that the president's national identity number was available on the general elections commission website anyway, while his date of vaccination was already widely reported on.


"The government urges the public to remain calm and not be provoked by inappropriate information related to the PeduliLindungi system," it said. 


The leak came just days after encryption provider vpnMentor said it discovered a breach in the Indonesian government's test-and-trace app for people entering Indonesia. "The app developers failed to implement adequate data privacy protocols and left the data of over 1 million people exposed on an open server," the company said. Leaked data included passenger ID and COVID-19 test results.


"Our team discovered [the app's] records with zero obstacles," it said.


Additional reporting by Shotaro Tani in Jakarta

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Thailand’s CCSA approves 4-phase reopening plan from October until January


October continues to see 4 beach resort destinations welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists, while November will see 10 more destinations reopening to international tourism.


Photo of TAT Newsroom TAT Newsroom Send an email 15 hours ago 20,825 1 minute read




Bangkok, 27 September, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to report that during today’s meeting, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved a four-phase timeline for the country’s reopening plan to revitalise the nationwide tourism industry.


Pilot Phase (1-31 October, 2021)
This will continue with the four popular beach resorts, which were the first destinations to reopen – beginning with Phuket on 1 July, then Surat Thani’s Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao on 15 July, and most recently Krabi and Phang-Nga on 16 August linking with Phuket under the 7+7 Extension arrangement. This phase will also see reopening of new designated areas in Krabi – Khlong Muang and Thap Khaek.


First Phase (1-30 November, 2021)
This will see the reopening extended to 10 other tourism-driven destinations. These include all areas of Bangkok, Krabi and Phang-Nga, and designated areas in Buri Ram (Mueang), Chiang Mai (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, and Doi Tao), Chon Buri (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Na Jomtien, and Sattahip), Loei (Chiang Khan), Phetchaburi (Cha-Am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin), and Ranong (Ko Phayam).


Second Phase (1-31 December, 2021)
The reopening will be extended to 20 more provinces which are tourism-driven, well-known for art and culture, or border destinations. These include Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Nong Khai, Pathum Thani, Phatthalung, Phetchabun, Phrae, Rayong, Samut Prakan, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Trang, Trat, and Yala.


Third Phase (1 January, 2022, onwards)
This will see the reopening of 13 border provinces, including Bueng Kan, Chanthaburi, Kanchanaburi, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Ratchaburi, Sa Kaeo, Satun, Surin, Tak, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani.


The CCSA has asked all concerned government agencies to prepare for the Phase 1-3 reopening. Meanwhile, foreign tourists can continue to visit the four pilot beach resort destinations under the existing conditions.


TAT will be providing more details of Thailand’s reopening plans as soon as official information becomes available

Edited by Yamato
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Thailand to let more businesses open and shorten curfew hours
Kingdom begins to work the rust out of its long-dormant tourist infrastructure



A health worker on Sept. 24 administers an AstraZeneca shot to a patient at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, which is a little more than a month away from welcoming back international travelers.   © AP

MASAYUKI YUDA, Nikkei staff writerSeptember 27, 2021 20:54 JST


BANGKOK -- Thailand this week is expected to allow spas, cinemas and museums to reopen and also shorten its nighttime curfew as it moves to get its tourism infrastructure back up and running, a crucial step now that it is weeks away from welcoming back the free-spending international travelers who support much of its economy.


The government's policymaking agency for coronavirus-related issues is recommending 29 provinces, including Bangkok, be allowed to trim an hour off the curfew and that more businesses be given the go-ahead to resume operations.


The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, on Monday decided to start the curfew at 10 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. The 4 a.m. end time remains in place.


Other businesses it wants to reopen include gyms, swimming pools and tattoo parlors. The previous round of reopenings affected restaurants, hair salons, foot spas and outdoor sporting venues. The serving of alcohol at eateries will remain prohibited.


The easing will be considered on Tuesday at a weekly cabinet meeting. The cabinet is expected to endorse it as the CCSA meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The easing will be implemented once its measures are published in the government's public journal, the Royal Gazette.


The agency will hold another meeting in two weeks to adjust the restrictions in line with the pandemic situation.


The CCSA has also decided to cut the required quarantine period for international arrivals to seven days if they carry a certificate of full vaccination. Without a certificate, visitors arriving by air or sea will have to quarantine for at least 10 days. Those crossing a land border will have to remain secluded for 14 days.


The Prayuth administration in late August shifted its COVID-19 strategy from completely eradicating the virus to coexisting with it. Along with the shift, the government began encouraging Thailand residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.



People pray while maintaining social distance at a shrine near the Central World shopping mall on Sept. 11, 2021.   © AP


According to Our World in Data, 22.7% of Thailand's population was fully vaccinated as of Sept. 22, while 42.2% had received at least one dose. Before August, only 5.6% of Thais had been fully vaccinated, with 19.7% having received at least one shot.


The increase in administered jabs has slowed the virus's spread. The delta strain began tearing through the kingdom in early July, protracting and expanding the country's third COVID-19 wave, which began in March.


Despite stringent business lockdowns that the government implemented in mid-July, daily cases maintained an upward trajectory, reaching 23,418 on Aug. 13. On Monday, new cases totaled 10,288.


With new daily infections on the wane, the country has room to start lifting restrictions, which have devastated Southeast Asia's second largest economy and threaten more harm if left in place.


On Wednesday, the Asian Development Bank downwardly revised its growth forecast for the Thai economy to 0.8% from 3%, reflecting the damage caused by the lockdowns.


By allowing more attractions and services to reopen, pushing back the curfew and shortening the quarantine period, Thailand hopes it can lasso some foreign travelers who are now beginning to think about international vacations. The CCSA says Bangkok and nine other tourist destinations will be open by Nov. 1.


Authorities have been sending mixed messages regarding Bangkok's reopening. The central government was pushing to reopen the capital by October, but the local government insisted next month would be too soon, that it needed additional time to vaccinate more residents. The CCSA's announcement on Monday may settle the debate.


As for the shorter quarantine period, it might make it easier for expats in Thailand to go on long-delayed visits to their home countries.


Thailand's vaccination drive kicked into a higher gear when the country decided to mix and match vaccines, allowing Sinovac doses for the first shot and AstraZeneca for the second.


The unconventional cocktail approach, which has not been adopted anywhere else, helped the country solve a vaccine shortage that cropped up despite local production of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Although there is no published science behind the approach, it has allowed more Thailand residents to receive two shots amid the short supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine.



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Probably hundreds of thousands of Thais, if not millions who had partially paid and booked for their Moderna vaccine had today received message that it will be delayed by 1 month to November. This is rather disappointing as many had made payment since June or July.




Google translate 


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