Bangkok: In a recent address to the nation of Thailand by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on TV pool, the PM stated that the government is determined to reopen the country in 120 days.
Major tourist provinces in the country are reopening gradually as they are ready. Prime Minister Prayut said that Phuket, with its Phuket Sandbox campaign, will serve as the pilot project for the national reopening initiative.
The Premier acknowledged the risks associated with this major decision but reiterated that the government prioritizes the wellbeing of the people and that the nation is strong enough to weather such risks.
General Prayut also stated that to be able to open the country in 120 days, the government will do everything possible to ensure that vaccines are delivered according to the committed schedules. According to the PM, in the near term, the top policy priority is for everyone to get, at least, their first shot of a vaccine as fast as possible, because that first shot already enormously increases the body’s ability to cope with an infection and can save a person’s life. In the longer term, the administration will be able to inoculate its citizens as demanded, as Thailand is able to produce vaccines domestically.
In news from Pattaya, Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said on June 16 that the city has booked doses of BBIBP-CorV developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group, which is commonly known as Sinopharm. The city has ordered 100,000 doses of the vaccine spending 8.8 million baht (US$280,166) is set aside for COVID-19 jabs. Sonthaya did not disclose when the Sinopharm vaccines would be delivered but said the city will soon open registration for the doses both online and registration forms which will be distributed by city officials to the communities.
The doses are being purchased at the retail price of 888 baht (US$28.28) from the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, which moved to import 1 million Sinopharm doses amid criticism over the elected government’s failure to produce enough vaccines. The Chulabhorn Royal Academy priced the Sinopharm vaccine at 888 baht per dose and prohibited buyers from passing the cost to vaccine recipients. The price covers the costs of the vaccine, its transport, and insurance on side effects.
Pattaya needs to vaccinate 120,000 people in the greater Pattaya area, 80,000 of who are over 19 years old, including senior citizens. Pattaya government and business leaders have been desperate to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the local population in order to reopen the city to foreign tourism. The government, however, has prioritized the Bangkok metropolitan area, leaving Chonburi with paltry allocations of doses made by China’s Sinovac Biotech and AstraZeneca PLC.
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