PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has a busy day in Phuket today (July 1) kicking off the sandbox scheme with the first of four flights having already touched down and he will personally meet those arriving on the last flight from Singapore at 5.10 p.m., Thai Rath newspaper said.
The four flights will be bringing in fully vaccinated tourists with negative coronavirus test results who are allowed to bypass the 14-day quarantine requirements. The first, Etihad Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi, arrived at 10.20 a.m. bringing 49 passengers; flying in after that are Qatar Airways flight from Doha arriving at 12.05 p.m.; El Al Israel Airlines flight from Tel Aviv arriving at 1.45 p.m. and Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore arriving at 5.10 p.m.
Tourists from many countries are coming including Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, as well as from Europe.
At 8.40 a.m. Gen Prayut went to Tha Chatchai checkpoint in Mai Khao subdistrict, Thalang district, which is the only land checkpoint on the island and oversaw the operations and screening systems there.
He then held a meeting with government and private agencies at the Royal Phuket City Hotel, Muang district, before presiding over the “Hug Thais Hug Phuket” opening ceremony at Central Phuket at 1.45 p.m. After that he will go to the airport to welcome foreign tourists coming to the holiday island from Singapore.
Gen Prayut told Phuket people that despite the known risks with the number of infections and fatalities rising in some large and targeted countries Thailand has to take some risks, Sanook.com said.
He also said it is important that the situation be closely monitored and assessed, modified when necessary and appropriate action taken immediately so that the big goal of opening the country in 120 days is not affected.
“I ask all Phuket residents to cooperate, help each other fully, be most careful and strictly follow the rules and not let regulations be violated. Do not allow people to travel in or out of the area without going through the correct steps.
“I ask everyone to consider their responsibility to the country at all times. Everything that happens in Phuket affects the whole country. May the people of Phuket be proud to work together on a national mission. The whole country is watching and encouraging you.”
Prime Minister Prayut in Phuket today, July 1, 2021. Photos: Thai Rath