'Endemic sandbox' proposed for islands, nightspots would reopen
The Public Health Ministry will propose declaring Covid-19 endemic on three major tourist islands - Koh Samui, Koh Chang and Phuket - and the reopening of night entertainment venues there.
Health permanent secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Thursday the ministry would seek approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for its "endemic sandbox" plan, a first step towards declaring Covid-19 an endemic disease nationwide.
Criteria for the endemic sandbox included declining infections, readiness of medical services and vaccination levels of people in those areas, he said.
"We selected islands that are the country's top tourist destinations first because their areas are limited and diseases can be easily controlled there," Dr Kiattiphum said.
He expected the sandbox plan would lead to the government's declaration of Covid-19 as an endemic disease in July.
In the endemic sandboxes, nightspots would be able to reopen under some restrictions, he said. Customers would have to be fully vaccinated. It would be recommended that people with underlying illnesses avoid these places.
Dr Kiattiphum said the wearing of face masks would remain a requirement under the endemic status of Covid-19.