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Thailand reports 6 new imported COVID-19 cases, considers resuming inbound travel for business visitors

Thailand reports 6 new imported COVID-19 cases, considers resuming inbound travel for business visitors

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks at the BTS train after the government eased some protective measures following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok , Thailand, June 16, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK: Thailand on Thursday (Jun 18) reported six new COVID-19 cases.

The new cases were quarantined Thais returning from Saudi Arabia and India, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokesperson for the government's COVID-19 Administration Centre.

There are now 3,141 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand, with the death toll at 58.

READ: Thailand ends curfew, marks 21 days with no local COVID-19 cases

Thailand has eased many of its restrictions and has recorded no new local transmissions for 24 days in a row, while 2,997 patients have recovered.

Separately, Thailand's aviation regulator said on Thursday that inbound international travel could resume next month for business purposes, as the country seeks to revive an economy hit badly by the impact of the coronavirus and global travel curbs.

Thailand's tourism industry, which accounts for 12 per cent of the economy, has ground to a halt from travel bans and health concerns, and projects as few as 14 million visitors this year, down from nearly 40 million in 2019.

"In July, we may open for some groups, but it will not be 100 per cent," director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), Chula Sukmanop, told Reuters.

A flight ban for all but repatriation flights is due to expire at the end of this month, but the extent to which the country can reopen depends on the government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, Chula said.

Thailand suspended international flights in April.

READ: Reseachers in Thailand testing horseshoe bats for COVID-19

Chula said specific groups may be allowed to visit, such as business delegations, but it was possible they may need to be quarantined upon arrival.

Details for travel requirements are still being discussed, such as entry certificates and other conditions before departure and upon arrival, he added.

Thailand has been planning to reopen to foreign visitors by creating so-called travel bubbles with countries that have also contained the virus, though no target date was set.

On Wednesday, Airports of Thailand said it expects travel to return to normal levels in October 2022.

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Source: Reuters/aj/mi

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