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The Ministry of Public Health Partners with Airbnb to provide safe stays for COVID-19 frontline responders in Thailand

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Mon, 05/25/2020 - 07:03
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Hosts across the country have offered frontline responders over 800 places to stay, adhering to cleanliness protocols and stringent safety standards.

In line with the expansion of its global Frontline Stays initiative in Thailand, Airbnb has now launched an industry-first partnership with the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Health Service Support to help make available safe and convenient places to stay for frontline medical staff and Village Health Volunteers while they carry out their critical work throughout Bangkok and key provinces in Thailand.

In line with this partnership, the Department will be liaising with public hospitals and provincial medical centers throughout the country to ensure awareness around the Frontline Stays programme.  

So far, Airbnb hosts in Thailand have offered more than 800 places to stay for frontline responders, with around 200 listings offered for free. Further, Airbnb will also waive all fees for the first 100,000 stays booked through this global program. However, efforts are still ongoing to recruit more hosts and anyone who wishes to support medical frontliners. Hosts in Thailand who wish to open their homes and be a part of the programme can sign up at  airbnb.com/covid19relief. 

Speaking of the need for safe and convenient places for frontline medical workers and Village Health Volunteers to stay, Dr. Sathit Pitutecha, Deputy Minister of Public Health said, “The continued safety and wellbeing of our medical staff and Village Health Volunteers remain our key priorities as we tackle the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Thailand. Through this project with Airbnb, we hope that Thailand’s medical staff and Village Health Volunteers are given peace of mind from their hard work, and are ensured access to a comfortable and convenient place to stay. 

On behalf of the Ministry, I would like to thank Airbnb and Airbnb hosts who have opened their hearts and their homes to welcome our heroes, and to display their support during these unprecedented times. Further, I would like to call on the Thai people to lend a helping hand. I encourage anyone who is capable and has a place that fits the program’s criteria to consider offering it to support our hardworking medical staff and Village Health Volunteers.”

“We truly appreciate the valuable support Airbnb and the Airbnb host community has extended to us in providing accommodations to Thai frontline responders. We are glad to see the situation improve in Thailand, and we believe a program like this will help us handle the situation better.  We hope that our medical staff and Village Health Volunteers anywhere will be able to benefit from the Frontline Stays program,” added Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, Director General of the Department of Health Service Support.

“The response from our local host community to our Frontline Stays programme in Thailand has been truly humbling and is a genuine reflection of the unique Thai hospitality known the world over.” said Mich Goh, Head of Public Policy (Southeast Asia), Airbnb. “We are truly grateful to everyone who has signed up to open their homes to COVID-19 responders during this time of crisis. We’re confident that by working together with the Ministry of Public Health and our hosts, our collective efforts will help connect Thai healthcare workers with a place to stay as they do their lifesaving work.” 

Upholding cleanliness and safety standards

As part of the Frontline Stays programme in Thailand, the Department of Health Service Support will also be partnering with Airbnb to encourage that all accommodations made available take into account robust preventive practices and stringent safety standards. As part of Airbnb’s safety policy, hosts signing up for the programme have agreed to follow the safety protocols developed by leading experts, officials, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Following the recent announcement of the Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, which includes the first overarching standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization in the home sharing industry, in May, Airbnb will launch the new Cleaning Protocol, offering enhanced procedures and guidance on how to clean every room in a home. The host Cleaning Protocol will include specific information on COVID-19 prevention, such as the use of personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves for hosts or their cleaners, as well as disinfectants that are approved by related agencies.

If hosts are unable to commit to the Cleaning Protocol, they can alternatively opt into a new feature called Booking Buffer, to create a vacancy period between stays. Hosts can commit to keeping their home empty for a set period in between stays, with no activity other than cleaning. Reservations will be automatically blocked during that time frame, currently set at 72 hours. This option includes the same 24 wait period before entering, with hosts still observing the guidance recommended by the Ministry of Public Health. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.