BANGKOK — Thailand is preparing to receive the first group of foreign tourists since scheduled commercial passenger flights into the country were halted in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Phuket Gov. Narong Woonsiew on Wednesday inspected the international airport at the popular southern resort island, where a new system including coronavirus testing and transport facilities has been installed to welcome the first 150 Chinese from Guangzhou province on Oct. 8.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said at least three groups of foreign tourists will arrive in October — two from China and one from Scandinavia. All will be subject to a 14-day quarantine and other restrictions on their movements.
The plan still needs final approval from the Cabinet. There has been speculation that the Oct. 8 start may be delayed, but Narong told reporters Phuket is ready.
Thailand has had 3,564 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 59 deaths. Regular commercial air traffic remains limited.