BANGKOK: Right at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic I was absolutely sure people will only travel again if they feel it is safe to do so in the new Covid-19 world, and when they have the spare cash to do so. My conviction to that mantra is as solid today as it was all those months ago.
Whilst Thailand today is considered safer, with no new local infections for the past 4 weeks – what about the rest of the world? With new regrettable milestones being reached this weekend – now over 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths globally – most predictions appear to have been widely off the mark. No more so than in the United States.
With 1 in 4 of all coronavirus cases and deaths globally within its borders – 2,510,000 cases including 44,000 new cases daily and 125,000 deaths – the USA is worst of all.
I was sorry to read via the BBC that in India, Delhi is now the country’s worst-hit area, with about 73,000 recorded cases of Covid-19 and at least 2,500 deaths.
Delhi has had many challenges including a fragmented local and regional provincial government that did not always see eye-to-eye and a population that lacked the will to follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines. It is also a state with many borders making containment difficult.
For Thailand we have been well managed. No new coronavirus cases or deaths reported for a long time leaving the total number at 3,162 cases and 58 deaths since January. No new local infection for 31 days, and no new deaths.
We have been very strict, with a strong Thai government in control, and excellent compliance from its citizens even during the curfew, when it was in place.
What is happening across the world is important to Thailand. We must sit up and take notice. WHY?
Whether we like it or not we are very much interconnected. With 10 million cases globally that is 1.5 people in 1000 who are infected with the coronavirus GLOBALLY and some reports suggest it to be higher. Without Covid-19 under control globally we are all affected.
Is it RESPONSIBLE to open our borders and airports in Thailand to visitors from around the world when countries in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia are still seeing coronavirus hotspots and deaths? As a person heavily invested in hospitality and tourism I am reluctant, but have to say YES it would be irresponsible.
If I were the Thai PM what would my answer be? I don’t think I need to spell it out.
Next week Thailand is expected to make a number of major announcements. The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will on Monday disclose details of the easing of Phase 5 restrictions, due to begin on the first of July. Apart from our land neighbours I cannot see the government risk all the good work of the past 95 days since the State of Emergency in Thailand was declared on the 26 March 2020. As much as I wish it were not so – for the sake of travel and tourism jobs – the Thai PM will not gamble on opening borders and airports completely. It would be such a risky move.
I was encouraged by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen when talking about vaccinations she announced that the European Union will do all in its power to ensure that all peoples of this world have access to a vaccine, IRRESPECTIVE of where they live. She also said that we must be ready to manufacture and deploy such a vaccine across Europe and the world. Especially to poorer countries. WHY?
Because she too also recognises our connectivity. That we are ALL interlinked. No-one is an island and we must all play our part to protect our one world, we are one people. We are all interconnected.
I would like to say safe travels however in its place let me say:
Stay safe, stay healthy.