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Thailand expands Sandbox pilot

With over 22,000 international arrivals in Phuket since Thailand has re-opened for tourism and only 62 of them testing positive for COVID-19, the Thai government has decided to expand its Sandbox scheme to 9 more islands.

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As you may recall, the first Thai island to re-open for tourism was Phuket, allowing inoculated visitors to land on the island for a mandatory stay of 14 days before moving on to other parts of the country. Under the Sandbox pilot, unvaccinated children aged 12-18 were required to undergo a PCR test.

Since July 1, when the plan was first implemented, more than 22,000 tourists entered Phuket, and only 62 of them (less than 0.3%) tested positive for COVID-19. Now, in light of the recent success of the pilot, the Thai government has decided to expand the scheme further.

The expanded list of destinations focuses on the south of Thailand, allowing tourists to travel further after only a week in Phuket. The nine destinations are Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay in the Krabi region, Khao Lak and Koh Yao surrounding Phuket, and the popular Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao in the Surat Thani region.

Tourists will be able to move on to any of these destinations upon completion of a second PCR test on the sixth day of their stay in Phuket, plus the use of approved methods of transportation to ensure that travelers make their journey as safe as possible. For example, transit to Koh Samui and the islands close by is only allowed on domestic flights from Phuket.

An additional requirement is that the stay at the hotel on the next island is booked and paid for in advance, and a third PCR test must be completed on the 12th day.

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