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Koh Samui, Kao Phangan, and Koh Tao will be part of the Sandbox Program

The government will add three more provinces to the sandbox program that currently only applies to Phuket and still allows applicants who were already approved under the Test & Go quarantine-free scheme to enter the country.

A government meeting on Friday approved three islands for the sandbox program. The islands included are Koh, Samui, Kao Phangan, and Koh Tao, located in Surat Thani province. The inclusion date is still unknown.

The sandbox program allows tourists to travel freely inside a given province or island without entering quarantine. However, the applicant has to stay in that area for seven days before proceeding to other parts of the country.

The objective of the administration is to strike a balance between revitalizing the tourism industry and easing fears of a new COVID-19 outbreak with disease measures being reinforced in 69 provinces and the ban on nightlife upheld. The announcement was made following the latest meeting of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the Test & Go one-quarantine-night-only entry program will be reconsidered at another meeting on January 15th, 2022. He also assured that pre-approved arrivals will be allowed to enter the Kingdom until further notice.

The CCSA kept the status of the eight provinces approved for tourism promotion unchanged, meaning eateries in these provinces can still serve alcoholic beverages until 9 PM. The eight provinces comprise Bangkok, Chon Buri, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phang-Nga and Phuket

The CCSA spokesman said the CCSA also resolved to step up public health controls in 69 other provinces. These include a ban on alcoholic drinks at restaurants. Additionally, the closure of night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke parlors, has also been extended until further notice.

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