Thailand Set To Reopen in 120 Days, Prime Minister Says

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced Wednesday that Thailand would completely reopen its borders in 120 days, allowing visitors to travel freely throughout the country and authorizing companies to resume operations.

Gen Prayut revealed the plan during a nationally televised program a day after apologizing for vaccinations delays due to supply shortages.

“I am setting a goal for us to be able to declare Thailand fully open within 120 days from today, and for tourism centers that are ready, to do so even faster,” he said. Phuket has been the first Thai destination to prepare to open for fully vaccinated travelers from July 1 under certain conditions.

After the full reopening, visitors would enter the country without restrictions, he added.

The prime minister acknowledged that the decision to reopen Thailand would carry risks but stated that it would help all companies to recover after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. “When we take into consideration the economic needs of people, the time has now come for us to take that calculated risk,” he added.

“We cannot wait for a time when everyone is fully vaccinated with two shots, or for when the world is free of the virus, to reopen the country,” he went on.

Under the reopening plan, Thailand would lift closure restrictions in mid-October. According to Gen Prayut, around 50 million people would have received at least their first COVID-19 shot to date.

Vaccinations in the country began on February 28.

The latest figures from the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) say that only about five million people, 10% of the target, have received at least one vaccine dose. Additionally, 1.8 million, or 3.7% of the target, were fully vaccinated.

Therefore, Thailand still needs to vaccinate another 45.5 million people, meaning more than 10 million people per month, to achieve the goal before opening the doors again.

However, the prime minister assured that the goal of vaccinating 50 million people could be achieved “if there are enough vaccines.” Gen Prayut also said the government had reached deals with six vaccine producers to obtain 105.5 million doses this year.

The firms were Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm.