Airbnb hosts medical workers, hotels offer alternative to Thai gov’t quarantine

Photo: Airbnb
Photo: Airbnb

Some of Bangkok’s Airbnb host legions left in the lurch by the lack of travelers may get a boost, if they’re up for a little risk.

The Health Ministry this morning announced that hundreds of Airbnb listings are now available to medical personnel and village health volunteers, while a number of hotels are now available for travelers who don’t want to spend two weeks at government sites.

There are now more than 800 Airbnb accommodations available for health workers, the ministry said, 200 of which are free.

It’s part of Airbnb’s Frontline Stays project, which launched in late April to connect hosts with nearby medical staff to reduce their commutes and risk of bringing COVID-19 home to their families. 

Medical workers must stay between five and 30 days, and practice safe social distancing. The hosts must close the rooms for three days between guests for cleaning.

Frontline Stays can now be found in Bangkok and 13 provinces including Chonburi, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Krabi and Phuket.

Airbnb business collapsed worldwide since April due to the evaporation of travel under the heat of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In Thailand, an overnight curfew and mandatory quarantine for travelers remain in place under emergency measures.

Hotels which have partnered with hospitals are now an option for those ordered into quarantine, including those returning from foreign countries, the ministry said. 

Airbnb listings could be future quarantine options as well when measures are further relaxed, according to the COVID-19 information center.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Airbnb listings were also being used as alternative quarantine sites. It was based on misleading information published by the COVID-19 Information Center on Monday morning that conflated the two projects. Airbnb’s Frontline Stays project and the hotel quarantine programs are in fact unrelated.


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