Ministry of Public Health and Department of Health Service Support leverage leading technologies to expand Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ)

Food and Healthcare Press Releases Friday November 27, 2020 14:31
Bangkok--27 Nov--Spark Communications
Working with leading global digital travel platform Agoda to roll-out initiative

Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Department of Health Service Support (HSS) today announced they will leverage Agoda's cutting edge digital technologies to further improve accessibility and efficiency for the booking processes of Alternative States Quarantine (ASQ) packages for Thai repatriates and in-bound travelers during COVID-19. This collaboration makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitalize the booking process.

Returning Thais and inbound travelers will be able to search for and book MOPH-approved ASQ properties via a dedicated booking platform (www.agoda.com/quarantineTH) that allows the traveler to search availability, room type, and pricing in real-time. Quarantine hotel package bookings are required as part of the process to obtain approval from the local Thai embassies to enter Thailand.

The automation of the booking process benefits both the participating hoteliers and travelers by simplifying the search and booking process on one easily accessible platform. It allows MOPH and HSS to focus their efforts on maintaining health and safety standard protocols for participating in ASQ properties. Initially, the listed ASQ properties on the platform include those in Bangkok, Chonburi, and Phuket.

Dr. Satit Pitutacha, Deputy Minister of Public Health: "The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every country across the world, in terms of health, society, and the economy. Thailand is lucky to be under the majesty of His Majesty the King and have the strength of professional Thai medical staff, as well as the public health system. The cooperation of all medical personnel, the general public, and public health volunteers has allowed us to control this crisis and become a model in public health, while building a good reputation for the country, which I think is something that we must be proud of together.

With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) declared a contagious pandemic under the Communicable Disease Act 2015, the COVID-19 Situation Management Center (Prof. B.C.) stipulated all travelers from abroad be screened, isolated, and quarantined, or quarantined for surveillance, prevention and control in the instance of localized cases of the disease. Therefore, government agencies including the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Health worked in close cooperation and collaboration to prepare for and provide a place to detain those traveling from abroad, in accordance with criteria and guidelines for disease control. In the same spirit, today's announcement is a collaboration between the government and the private sector to help stimulate the Thai economy and help entrepreneurs to generate income."

Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support: "Alternative State Quarantine: ASQ, is an important mechanism that aims to benefit Thailand in two ways. The first factor is in the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, and the second is as a stimulus to help drive the economy by generating income for entrepreneurs. For these hotel entrepreneurs to be part of the ASQ program however, they must pass strict standard checks in six categories from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense. These include safety protocols that ensures on-site personnel fully equipped with medical supplies and training, processes that minimise disruption to the wider community and have an environmental management system to protect and control guests, and thus prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along side these requirements are is the professionalism of our hospitals to support foreign travelers and Thai's repatriating. ASQ helps to promote the country's economy with the 113 hotels participating as ASQ properties generating 1.2 billion baht revenue for Thailand to date. ASQ facilities, which allow flexibility to choose where to stay for quarantine, can be one way to attract foreign tourists again from all over the world and generate income for the country."

John Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Agoda: "We applaud the Ministry of Public Health and Department of Health Service Support and their forward-thinking on this innovative ASQ project. Agoda will bring its technical expertise to make the ASQ initiative as efficient and accessible to the public as possible while ensuring at the same time that the Ministry can continue to focus on preserving travelers' and the public's safety. This type of government and corporate collaboration allows us to deliver the final product as quickly and cost-effectively as possible - which is critical during a crisis like this.

"Agoda has a team of over 1,000 tech engineers in Bangkok working around the clock on cutting-edge solutions for customers, businesses, and governments across the globe. We strive to innovate and improve the travel experience every day, and technology is at the heart of everything we do, so we are thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking project here in Thailand."

The digital booking platform for ASQ is now live (www.agoda.com/quarantineTH), with more technology partners expected to join the program in the coming months.

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