Thailand mulls Covid-19 vaccine passports for tourists
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Bangkok - Thailand is considering Covid-19 vaccine passports and quarantine exemption amid efforts to boost the country's ailing tourism sector.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Foreign Ministry to conduct a study into the vaccine passports.
"If we decide to unveil the plan, China will be among the first countries that we're going to negotiate with," Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told Xinhua news agency.
The preliminary plan will involve issuing certifications for inoculated visitors to Thailand, lifting them from the two-week mandatory quarantines and relaxing some restrictive measures, Wissanu said, adding that equal treatment will be required from other countries for inoculated Thai visitors.
However, he said the government still needs time to go through details and specific measures for implementation.
Thailand welcomed about 40 million foreign visitors in 2019, but only 6.7 million trickled in last year.
The Southeast Asia's second-largest economy contracted 6.1 percent year on year last year in its sharpest decline since 1998.
Thailand's tourism sector accounts for more than 15 percent of the country's economy.
Thailand currently requires a Certificate of Entry from all travellers in order to enter the country and are subject to a 14-day quarantine at a state-approved facility.
Travellers must also provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 (about R1.5-million) and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.