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Update 1-Thailand turns airport into vaccination center as there are few travelers




(Recast, byline, details added for vaccination)

Bangkok, April 28 (Reuters)-A long line at Thailand’s very quiet international airport this week after changing the check-in area to a vaccination center as part of an effort to accelerate the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine. I’m back.

At the check-in counter, Cordon and suitcases were replaced with evenly spaced chairs, and the Immigration Bureau, airport staff, and cabin crew lined up to register for the vaccine. The vaccine is given to more than 1,000 people daily.

Vaccination provided a vibrant activity that was rarely seen at Suvarnabhumi Airport last year. Suvarnabhumi Airport suffered a dramatic drop in passenger and air traffic due to weak demand and tighter immigration restrictions.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million tourists, primarily from major gateways. The number of visitors to Thailand in March was only 6,737.

Staff member Siwaporn Singkhrut, one of the first set of more than 30,000 people vaccinated at the airport, said there was ample room to extend the service to more people.

“Currently, only part of the airport is in operation. It would be even better if the airport was fully open to the public so that people could come and vaccinate,” she said.

A year after a relatively minor outbreak, Thailand experienced the largest and fastest spread of the coronavirus, doubling the number of cases from the beginning of April to nearly 61,699, killing 178 people.

On Wednesday, 2,012 new cases and 15 deaths were recorded.

The Thai government has not yet started mass vaccination and is rushing to secure a vaccine supply to supplement the vaccine that will be produced locally from June. (Written by Martin Petty, edited by Mike Collett-White)


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