Opinion: No compulsory vaccination for permits, no quarantine for vaccinated people

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from ‘traveler’


the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said it will allow fully vaccinated international travelers to visit Phuket, one of Thailand’s largest islands. The idea of ​​the “Phuket Sandbox” (as it is called) also allows visitors to travel to other parts of Thailand after staying in Phuket for 7 days. Although Phuket’s population is much larger than Cayman, it has two things in common – it is small (about 200 square miles) and tourism is one of its economic pillars. It is therefore interesting to look at Phuket and its “sandbox” idea to see what the requirements for reopening the borders compare to the Cayman Islands and if there are any lessons to be learned from the Phuket sandbox experience can be.

Before arrival

In order for a tourist to enter Phuket, they must meet the following requirements:

  • A passport with at least 6 months validity
  • You have been in countries / areas approved by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Thailand for 21 days or more
  • Fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the Thai Ministry of Health or the World Health Organization. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel
  • Booked and bought a return flight
  • You have booked and paid for accommodation for a minimum of 14 nights, including a minimum of 7 nights in Phuket
  • Have booked and paid for RT-PCR tests that cover the entire duration of your stay in Thailand
  • Have health insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage of at least $ 100,000. TAT encourages travelers to check the fine print of a COVID-19 insurance policy before purchasing. Ultimately, the policy should cover treatment costs and other medical costs related to COVID-19 infection, including inpatient hospital stays. The policy should also cover the entire length of time travelers plan to stay in Thailand
  • Have tested negative for COVID-19 with a laboratory result by an RT-PCR method no longer than 72 hours before departure.

Once a person meets the above requirements, they can visit a website and apply for an entry permit which can then be used to travel to different parts of Thailand.

Children under the age of 18 do not need to be vaccinated if traveling with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian, but must provide a medical certificate with a laboratory result by an RT-PCR method showing that COVID-19 has not been detected will not arrive more than 72 hours prior to your travel date.

Arrival at Phuket Airport

The TAT said travelers will undergo a health screening, including a PCR test and normal immigration procedures, upon arrival at Phuket Airport. Travelers then go to state-certified hotels and wait for their test results, which are in on the first day of arrival.

Please note that the hotels certified by the Royal Thai Government in Phuket meet the security measures to control COVID-19 and have at least 70% of their staff fully vaccinated.

During the tourist stay

Once tourists receive their negative test (they have to wait for the test results in their hotel rooms), they are free to move around Phuket as long as they follow precautions, including social distancing, hand washing, temperature checks, and wearing masks in public areas or in vehicles two or more people.

The TAT also recommends that tourists use certified transport providers and tour services – those who take security measures to control COVID-19.

Before moving around Phuket, travelers must download an “alarm” application that must be on at all times while traveling in Thailand.

Covid cases

As of September 2021, the total number of cases across Thailand was 1,581,415, with about 7 percent receiving medical treatment and about 91 percent of positive cases having recovered.

From July 1 to September 27, 2021, 37,576 people arrived in Phuket and 37,463 tested negative.

On September 27, 2021, 99 people arrived in Phuket and there were no infected people at these arrivals.

Lessons for caiman

I believe Cayman should take into account some things from the Phuket model and adjust others as follows:

  • Negative COVID-19 tests still required before departure
  • Prepayment of accommodation for the entire stay
  • Removal of the quarantine requirement for vaccinated passengers
  • Enable PCR testing on the same day
  • Encouraging passengers to purchase health insurance with COVID-19 treatment coverage
  • No vaccination requirement for unvaccinated children under the age of 18 as long as they have completed a PCR test and are traveling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians
  • Hospitality, tour operators and other entities that have security measures in place to control COVID-19 or require such entities to self-certify (with severe penalties if self-certification is misrepresented, misleading or fraudulent)
  • Instead of compulsory vaccinations for existing work permit holders currently on the island, require all businesses to have weekly PCR tests or promote a culture of daily self-tests, each with PCR results on the same day

The Cayman Islands government could also ask airlines to take responsibility for ensuring that passengers travel from a list of approved countries, taking into account all passenger connections. Airlines could agree to penalties if the proper controls are not carried out and a breach occurs.

In addition, the experience for each passenger on arrival must run smoothly, orderly and quickly, without additional, intrusive controls that go beyond the normal secret service controls of the immigration authorities on illegal goods or illegally landing persons.

When stakeholders (including arriving tourists) implement and comply with COVID-19 security measures, everyone will feel safe. If everyone works, hospitality companies could be successful again, of course with appropriate safety procedures to ensure that people’s health continues to be a top priority.


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