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Thailand to allow local flights to resume in COVID-19 risk areas

Thailand to allow local flights to resume in COVID-19 risk areas

FILE PHOTO: A woman gets vaccinated at the Central Vaccination Center as Thailand opens walk-in for first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination scheme for elders, people with a minimum weight of 100 kilograms and pregnant women amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand, July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

BANGKOK: Thailand will allow some domestic flights to and from Bangkok and other high risk areas for COVID-19 to resume from Sep 1, the country's aviation authority said on Sunday (Aug 29), to help boost economic activity.

The announcement follows the easing of tough restrictions in 29 high-risk provinces from next month, including allowing more provincial travel and the reopening of shopping malls, as the government tries to revive a struggling economy hit by the outbreak.

Local fights can fly at up to 75 per cent capacity and passengers will have to follow travel conditions at destinations such as presenting proof of vaccinations and COVID-19 testing results, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said in a statement.

Flights related to areas under a tourism reopening scheme will also be allowed, it said.

Airlines, including Asia Aviation and Bangkok Airways, have announced the resumption of some local flights from next week.

The relaxed curbs come as Thailand's biggest wave of infections shows some signs of easing after a daily record high of more than 23,000 new cases earlier this month amid an outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

On Sunday, it reported 16,536 new cases and 264 deaths.

While new cases remain high, they are likely to drop further as authorities ramp up vaccinations, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Sunday.

The government expects to have 140 million doses of vaccines this year, he said.

Thailand started its mass vaccination drive in June, but so far only about 11 per cent of its more than 66 million population has been fully vaccinated.

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Source: Reuters/vc

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