BANGKOK – As borders close and stringent travel restrictions are imposed around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some foreign tourists have become stranded in Thailand, especially in southern seaside provinces. Most of them are complying with regulations in the respective areas, and are impressed with the help being provided by Thai people and the authorities.
Mr Iwan is a 25-year-old engineering student from Russia. Not being able to travel home due to the pandemic, he is now seeking shelter at Wat Mai Pattanaram in Surat Thani, with the acting abbot PhraKhru Pisan Pattananukit taking care of his wellbeing since 26th March.
Surat Thani Governor Wichawut Jinto yesterday met Mr Iwan while he was helping the temple prepare meals for villagers affected by the pandemic.
Having ran out of money after a trip to have his visa extended in Songkhla, Governor Wichawut has personally given some money to Mr Ivan, advising him that related agencies will assist him with his visa extension, and telling him to rest assured about his safety; The governor thanked the temple for providing shelter to the stranded tourist.
Mr Iwan thanked the governor for the help, praising the hospitality of Thai people.
He said local people he has met would ask if he has eaten, if he has a mask to wear, and warned him not to go out after 10 p.m. during curfew hours.
He said he is now waiting for Russia to reopen borders and for flights to operate into his native country, then he will plan his return journey.
In Krabi, Muang Krabi District Chief Chaiwut Buathong has led health officials, village headsmen, and the president of AoRailay Tourism Businesses Association to meet with some 130 foreign tourists, who have been staying in the area for more than two months.
Most of the tourists are complying with orders from the provincial communicable diseases control committee. They have expressed their impression with Thai people, saying that most of them decided to stay as accommodations helped by reducing the rent, and providing food to the tourists.
AoRailay tourism businesses association has been screening potential patients in the area since the outbreak began. There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 so far in this area, which is now closed to new arrivals.
Tourists who were staying here before the lockdown are welcome to stay, however everyone in the area is asked not to travel beyond limits. (NNT)