Thailand to reopen to visitors in 120 days: PM Prayut

BANGKOK Thailand will reopen to visitors within 120 days after more than a year of coronavirus travel curbs, a calculated risk needed to revive its troubled economy, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.

The country was ahead of target in securing 105.5 million doses of virus vaccine for this year and would seek more supplies next year, Mr Prayut said in a nationally televised speech yesterday.

He added that the government plans to administer an average of 10 million shots each month from July and aims to reopen the tourism-reliant country to fully vaccinated travellers, local and foreign, without a quarantine requirement.

"Reopening the country is one of the important ways to start reducing the enormous suffering of people who have lost their ability to earn an income," he said.

"When we take into consideration the economic needs of people, the time has now come for us to take that calculated risk."

He aimed to declare Thailand fully open within 120 days and for tourism centres that are ready "to do so even faster".

Mr Prayut said the risk was necessary and the country could not afford to wait to complete all of its vaccinations and for the spread of the virus to halt.

It will start with a pilot reopening from July 1 of Phuket, which has been vaccinating most of its local population.

Thailand lost about US$50 billion (S$66 billion) in tourism revenue last year - an 82 per cent plunge. It had 2,331 new cases yesterday, taking the total to 204,595. There were 40 deaths, taking the toll to 1,525. - REUTERS