Recently, Thailand’s government launched its ‘Factory Sandbox’ pilot program, which is designed to limit Covid-19 related disruptions through extensive testing, vaccination, and isolation of infected factory workers. Should the program prove successful, it would be a huge boon to Thailand’s all-important export-driven manufacturing sector.
According to a government statement, the aim of this program is to ensure the protection of over 3 million jobs. It is also intended to provide support for manufacturers, whose industry is responsible for contributing over 700 million baht to the nation’s gross domestic product. The plan will focus on plants which employ at least 500 people and will build confidence among both Thai and foreign investors at a time when supply chains in rival countries are shutting down.
The ‘sandbox’ program will put greater emphasis on large factories that manufacture cars, electronics, medical equipment, and food for export purposes and will mainly occur in areas which have been designated as key production hubs. Eligible factories must employ at least 500 workers, a field hospital or isolation facility and shuttle services for employees.
According to the statement, all workers will also be tested for Covid-19 and those who test positive will be isolated, while cohorts will be inoculated, with subsequent tests done every seven days. Sixty factories in Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Chonburi, with a combined workforce of 138,000, will participate in the initial phase.