Oct 22, 2021
Thailand easing tourist quarantine rules in November
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BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand is accelerating plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists, slashing mandatory quarantines beginning Nov. 1 for fully-vaccinated visitors arriving by air from 46 countries and territories, officials announced Friday.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration also announced a loosening of local restrictions, including cancellation of a curfew in some areas where risks have lessened and tourists can move freely.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had announced earlier this month that Thailand no longer planned to require visitors from at least 10 low-risk nations to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. He had said the list would be expanded on Dec. 1, and then made even more extensive on Jan. 1.
Under the new rules, vaccinated travelers to Thailand from the approved 45 countries plus Hong Kong will be required to show negative results from RT-PCR tests before flying and upon their arrival. They will need to spend their first night in a government-approved hotel awaiting their test results, though the government is not calling that a quarantine. If the results are negative, the person can travel anywhere in Thailand.
Prayuth, announcing the expanded list of countries with eased quarantine rules late Thursday on his Facebook page, wrote: “To wait until everything is ready might be too late. Tourists may decide to visit other countries instead.”
Thailand shut its borders to most foreign visitors in April last year after local transmission of the coronavirus started to climb. Foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 were almost 40 million, but plunged to 6.7 million in 2020. Tourism is estimated to have accounted for 12-20% of GDP before the pandemic.
Visitors from other countries are also allowed to enter Thailand but face additional restrictions.
The new rules coming into effect Nov. 1 include ending a late-night curfew in some areas, including Bangkok. The consumption of alcoholic drinks in public places, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs, remains banned, though the government has said the ban will be lifted in December to promote tourism during the New Year holiday season.
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FCC Democrat Rosenworcel confirmed by Senate to pursue restoration of net neutrality
Jessica Rosenworcel gained Senate confirmation Tuesday to lead the Federal Communications Commission and is now positioned to move the agency to the left, pursuing the restoration of net neutrality and tightening telecommunications regulations.
She was confirmed to be a FCC commissioner for a term of five years from July 1, 2020 with strong bipartisan support in a 68-31 vote on the Senate floor, with 31 Republicans opposing her nomination.
The five-member agency, which is in charge of regulating the TV, radio, and telecommunications industries, along with ensuring broadband internet access, has been missing one commissioner and a full-time chairman since Biden became president at the beginning of this year. The shortage of personnel has hampered Democrats from moving full-steam ahead with their ambitious broadband and telecommunications agenda.
In particular, the agency is at the heart of the Democrats’ fight to restore net neutrality rules from the Obama administration, Biden's push for price transparency and competition among internet providers, and the effort to reduce consolidation in the telecommunications industry through merger reviews of deals, such as the T-Mobile-Sprint one from earlier this year.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet the same and not discriminate or charge differently based on where it’s coming from or to whom it’s going.
NEW FEDERAL PROGRAM OFFERS $50-A-MONTH INTERNET DISCOUNT FOR LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
Under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC in 2017 voted down rules created by the commission in 2015 that classified internet service providers such as AT&T and Comcast as Title II public utilities, subject to FCC control.
Rosenworcel, 50, was first appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in 2012 and later reappointed by President Donald Trump.
Before becoming a commissioner, she served as senior communications counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee, before which she worked for the Wireline Competition Bureau of the FCC.
Prior to entering public service, she practiced communications law. She went to college at Wesleyan University and studied law at New York University.
Democrats at the FCC, led by Rosenworcel, are expected to reinstate the 2015 Title II FCC regulations on internet service providers after the Senate confirms a fifth commissioner, Gigi Sohn, and gives them the majority. The Title II rules were meant to ensure the providers could not block or inhibit access to certain types of web services from different providers or create pay-to-play fast lanes for certain content.
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Republicans are staunchly opposed to the Title II regulations, in part because the Title II protections would allow the federal government to regulate or control broadband internet prices if it wanted to.News Policy Economy FCC Telecom Net Neutrality Broadband Internet Price controls online commerce