Thailand to form 'business bubbles' to let in only high-value, low-risk travellers

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The National Security Council has outlined the criteria for allowing foreign businesspeople into Thailand under the "business bubble" arrangement expected to start in July.

Council secretary-general Gen Somsak Rungsita said those without a Thai work permit will have to ask permission from state agencies such as the Foreign Ministry or Board of Investment.

A joint committee will also be set up to consider permissions, added Somsak, speaking in his role as chairman of the panel on easing Covid-19 restrictions.

The committee will comprise representatives of the Foreign Ministry, BOI, the Public Health Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council.

Criteria for allowing entry to business people will include the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak in their countries and the economic value to Thailand of their visit.

Priority consideration will be given to investors in mega-projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor and elsewhere.

The committee will also focus on Thailand's ability to track business arrivals, he added.

Foreign business travellers will be tested for Covid-19 three times - in their country of origin, on arrival in Thailand and before departure.

So far, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China have asked to form "business bubbles" with Thailand, said Somsak. Meanwhile, entry for Chinese businesspeople would be considered on a province by province basis.

Those with Thai work permits will need to show a health certificate showing they are not infected with Covid-19, along with health insurance covering medical treatment in Thailand.

Both the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and the government were now studying the criteria, he added.

Meanwhile, tourists are unlikely to be allowed into Thailand any time soon, since more time was needed to prepare for "travel bubbles", he said.

"Travel bubbles" will match countries at low risk of Covid-19 contagion and allow free flow of visitors between them without the need to quarantine.

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