Pattaya Covid-19 cases trend down, but vaccinations too slow, PBTA chief says

Will Pattaya return to heady days such as shown here before the coronavirus? Probably not anytime in the near future.

A marked decline in coronavirus cases in Pattaya has heartened tourism officials, but the city won’t be able to reopen to foreign tourists without a huge increase in vaccinations.

Boonanan Pattanasin, president of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, said May 21 that only 265 of 10,000 tourism-industry workers expressing interest in being vaccinated received shots May 20-21. Boonanan said he was disappointed, but understood the government had to prioritize its limited number of Covid-19 doses to Bangkok and areas still seeing large numbers of new cases.

Pattaya has seen a general downward trend in cases, although Chonburi Province or the country as a whole has not. Thailand overall saw 2,406 cases on Saturday, 1,191 in Bangkok.

Chonburi reported 71 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, with 16 of those in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. Of the 4,072 cases reported in the province since April 1, only 944 remain under treatment. There have been 16 deaths locally.

Officials say, even if cases drop to zero, Pattaya cannot reopen for tourists if at least 70 percent of the population isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

On May 21, the province reported 127 cases but only nine in Banglamung. Thursday saw 65 cases with 13 in Pattaya.

Yet even if cases drop to zero, Pattaya cannot open for tourists if at least 70 percent of the population isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19, Boonanan said, and the government is woefully behind most other countries of its size or larger in doing so.

Pattaya is supposed to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists in October, but – at the current pace of vaccinations – it’s unlikely that will happen, Boonanan said.

So far, nothing is being mentioned of the 6,000 US sailors due here in August. Will Pattaya be vaccinated enough in time to open up for them?

A lone westerner walks down Soi Buakhao. The number of newly infected cases in Banglamung District and Pattaya City has declined in recent days.

Restaurants are open for dine-in service again, but without booze.

Boonanan Pattanasin (left) and Thanet Supornsahatrangsi (right) meet with Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome about the vaccination situation in Pattaya.