Thailand to Scrap Most of Remaining Lockdown to Boost Economy
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Thailand will scrap most of its remaining lockdown to bolster the economy after detecting no domestic novel coronavirus transmission for more than two weeks.
More businesses and some schools can reopen from June 15, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 center, said in a briefing in Bangkok on Friday. The nation began a phased easing of the restrictions in early May. A state of emergency remains in force until the end of June and most incoming international flights are banned.
Thais embraced social distancing and hygiene guidelines as well as facial masks, helping to restrict Covid-19 cases to 3,129, with 58 fatalities. Officials will also scrap a nighttime curfew from Monday, but remain wary of the risk of another wave of infections as domestic activity picks up.
Thailand relies on tourism and trade, both of which have been hurt by the pandemic. While the government has rolled out stimulus worth about 15% of gross domestic product to cushion the economy, the national planning agency still predicts a contraction of as much as 6% this year.
The government plans to create travel bubbles with certain countries when it reopens Thailand’s borders. Under such pacts, travelers may need to be tested for the pathogen but won’t be quarantined, according to Taweesilp.
The bubbles could initially be limited to visitors on business trips or seeking medical services, and their movements may be restricted, though guidelines have yet to be worked out, he said. The possible initial list of regions for bubbles spans China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some Middle Eastern nations.
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