Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged other Asean members to follow Thailand’s footsteps and start reopening to revive economies in the region and ensure the tangible implementation of the bloc’s response to Covid-19.
Gen Prayut addressed the issue via teleconference at the ongoing 38th and 39th Asean Summits, which are taking place online and opened under the chairmanship of Brunei on Tuesday.
Myanmar refused to send a representative after being angered by the bloc’s decision to exclude the country’s junta chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing.
Gen Prayut told Asean leaders that the Covid-19 crisis underlines the region’s vulnerability to coping with emerging threats.
He said the bloc must work to address the impact of the pandemic while also learning lessons from it so as to be more resilient in future.
“Asean should start reopening and allowing for safe travel to revive its economies,” he said, adding that the Asean Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework should be put into practice, with mutual recognition of vaccines and vaccine certificates to facilitate business travel, and later tourism.
“In this context, Thailand has already opened up pilot areas under the Phuket Sandbox programme to welcome foreign tourists and will gradually open up more areas,” he said.
“Furthermore, Asean must avoid unnecessary measures that may hinder the movement of goods to ensure supply chain connectivity during the pandemic and make greater use of the intra-Asean market to stimulate our regional economy,” he added.