Free quarantine accommodation for arriving Thais to be cancelled

FILE PHOTO: Thais returning home will no longer get free quarantine accommodation.

By the end of June, the government plans to phase out the state-provided free quarantine accommodation facilities for Thai nationals repatriating from abroad. Previously, the government was providing accommodation and medical care for all Thai people returning from other countries back to their homeland.

Under a new proposal by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, starting July 1, state quarantine facilities will shut down and all people arriving by air will need to pay for their quarantine stays at alternative facilities. They said this proposal only applies to travellers arriving by air into one of Thailand’s international airports. They didn’t mention rules for those arriving by land.

Thais always had the same option to upgrade from the basic accommodation and food provided at the state quarantine facilities, to the ASQ hotels. Many did.

The CCSA has been looking into alternative state quarantine hotels and facilities with reasonable pricing to help in this transition out of free accommodation for Thai nationals. As many foreigners who were discouraged from coming here will know, the hotels that converted to function as ASQ facilities are often extremely expensive, making a trip to Thailand, even with 14 days of quarantine, cost-prohibitive.

The cheapest 14 day quarantine hotels in Bangkok, including food (sometimes not very good food), were around 30,000 – 35,000 baht.

The secretary-general of the National Security Council who works as operations head for the CCSA said that ending this program was necessary for financial reasons. They cited rampant abuse of the free accommodation as the reason it was unsustainable. People would travel repeatedly in and out of Thailand and get 2 weeks of free accommodation each time. People were caught making as many as 10 trips this way and abusing the system.

The CCSA confirmed that the 14 day quarantine policy is not going away with this change, just the free accommodation option for Thai nationals will no longer be available. The plan proposed would still cover all medical expenses like Covid testing and treatment for positive cases. But all arrivals now would be responsible for paying for their own food and accommodation during quarantine.

The CCSA did hint that exceptions were possible, indicating that people travelling out of necessity may receive assistance from government organisations supervising them, which may pay for the quarantine accommodation.

The proposal though is not yet official and still would need to be approved by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha before the CCSA could implement it.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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