Updated: Nov 28, 2020
If you thought that a restricted zone such as a quarantine camp was something the German army invented for the Jews to keep them away from the locals during WW2 you would be right. If you thought that a country like Thailand would use that concept and use it to restart its tourism industry you would have been thought of as being mad only 6 months ago. The world has changed into a twisted and warped reality where history is even being repeated.
Thailand hasn't had a new COVID case for three months and as the economy slips further into recession a bright mind in Thailand had a spark of genius and came up with a great idea. If you have heard of Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and know who he is then you are a scholar and have been following politics in recent years. If you haven't heard of him he is Thailand's tourist minister who today announced that brilliant idea. After all, he is the minister responsible for saving Thailand's tourism industry from total collapse.
Phiphat's inspiration came when he realized that Europe and North America will soon be going into winter. He thought to capitalize on the fact that once temperatures drop in Europe, the snowbirds will take flight and fly to Phuket. Phuket will always be the snowbirds preferred destination (forgetting about Spain or Greece) simply because they have always come in great numbers. He dismissed some wise guys criticism saying that his idea of a quarantine camp in Phuket would be too restricting for tourists.
He added that Phuket has long been a destination for "snowbirds" looking to escape the winter season (forgetting that the red-light district was the main drawcard for Phuket). Yes, families also used to come to Phuket once but that was in 2019 and this is 2020 when children aren't even allowed to leave the house.
He said the country is aiming to allow foreign tourists to enter through a new program entitled "safe and sealed". You might think by the program name that it has to do with a bandaid or perhaps a new type of face mask but you are not even close. The term"safe and sealed" refers to a camp where tourists will be sent to do their quarantine time all in the name of having a holiday.
You see Thailand has actually realized that it would be nice to allow some tourists into the country. So the tourist minister (I won't repeat his name) thought up the idea that Phuket would be a great place to start. It could only be assumed that he chose Phuket because the Coronavirus would be less likely to enter the mainland because Phuket is an Island.
Being a tourist minister he doesn't have all the power needed to implement this type of new program without some approval from above. So he asked permission from the center of Economic Situation Administration and you wouldn't believe it, they approved of the idea. The center for Economic situation administration is a new task force set up to administer face masks but also to analyze any wild ideas a minister may put forward.
The tourist minister now only needs the approval of the prime minister but the idea has already made the news. The plan is to allow tourists into Phuket but only to a designated area. You won't be able to go outside of the designated area and they may include the beach but they are still debating that one.
The proposal is to quarantine all tourists for 14 days (even though they are not sick) and have the tourists spend their holiday whilst being quarantined in special quarantine camps. Tourists will be checked for COVID as soon as they arrive and then tested again before they leave. If any tourist contracts COVID whilst being in quarantine they will have to spend an additional 7 days in further quarantine and thereby miss their flights back home.
Those tourists that wish to travel to other parts of Thailand will have to stay in quarantine for an additional 7 days and will have a third COVID-19 test at the end of the 21 days total quarantine period. If there were plenty of hot hookers at the quarantine resort you could be forgiven for allowing yourself to be put through that torture of imprisonment and confinement. However, that will not be the case because hookers can transmit COVID-19 easily so you will have to either bring a partner with you or not go at all because it won't be much fun on your own.
A quarantine camp will be a zone of about a square kilometer that includes about 3 resorts that have beach access. The lucky resort owners that are chosen will be able to re-live their former days and remember what it was like to be self-employed again as owner/managers. The resorts that were smart enough to rent properties along Patong beach could be back in business.
Patong beach has been named as the first beach to be given the go-ahead and becomes part of the quarantine zone. Zone. If this project is successful the minister for tourism said that this could expand to other destinations, what a visionary! Who could have imagined that a country like Thailand would be the first to transform eco or health tourism into quarantine tourism. Then again without the red-light districts back in action tourists needed something new and what better than a glorified prison camp.
The coronavirus is quite evil in its way of appearing suddenly where you least expect it, no wonder it adds up to (666) in numerology, but that's just a coincidence, right? If one new corona case emerges as a result of the foreign influx of tourists the whole project could even be stopped because we all know how dangerous the COVID virus is right? Therefore if testing for COVID is undertaken at the resort and as tests always show a positive reading there is a high probability that this could actually happen. Imagine the misfortune for stranded tourists who would have to stay indefinitely at the camp if there was just one confirmed positive new case.
Hotel staff that work in these camps will be tested frequently and be not permitted to leave the camp without themselves going into a 14-day quarantine first. That will ensure the spread of the deadly disease does not spread to the wider community.
However as tourists are so keen to return to Thailand because they are tired of being stuck at home without work, this project is anticipated to be a huge success by Thailand politicians. There will be no hookers allowed so I'm not sure how much fun people will actually have but that's the plan anyway.
Yuthasak Supasorn the governor of the Thailand tourism authority already stated that the plan has been approved (even though not yet approved by the prime minister) but suggested there should also be a public hearing. Of course, you would think they would have had the public hearing first before anything else but that's their own logic.
If they were as thorough with everything else in the economy as they are with a virus that has a death rate of 0.1% then it would be squeaky clean. The world bank claims that Thailand's former tourism industry amounted to 15% of GDP. Currently, that figure is zero so it's just as well they came up with some type of solution be it draconian, then again what else did you expect?
The only problem now is to approve the airlines to land in Thailand and have the departing countries also approve their airline travel. The date this program has been set for is for the first of October, personally I think they have missed their mark. If all else fails quarantine tourism is the idea that has been created and other countries that can be a bit more organized may run with the idea as well. Imagine a dream holiday in a quarantine camp for tourists that are healthy but treated like they have COVID, I am speechless how about you?