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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM says all air passengers must show health certificates, insurance

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: KN Aviation

How to close your borders when you’re not actually closing your borders. The Thai PM has made travelling to Thailand difficult, if not impossible, for many in his latest ‘clarification’.

In an apparent contradiction of the a notice posted by Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) yesterday, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that all air travellers, both Thai and foreign, must now present a health certificate proving they free of the Covid-19 coronavirus, and proof of insurance covering any local treatment for the virus, before being allowed to check in for a flight or journey to Thailand.

“We are preventing the virus from entering into the country. That’s why we require everyone entering into Thailand to present their health certificates and insurance policies. This measure had been applied to travellers from four countries and two territories, but we now extended it to every country.”

Earlier yesterday, CAAT governor Chula Sukmanop announced that this was not the case, and that only air passengers from 15 locations would be required to provide the documents before being allowed to board flights into Thailand.

The PM did not specify when or how the measure, slammed by many as impractical, will be implemented. Doctors in many countries, including Thailand, generally don’t provide coronavirus tests to those who do not show symptoms. Nor did he specify whether the conditions would apply to travellers entering by land

When asked whether the measure would effectively close Thai borders, Prayut snapped that he did not imply that.

“Why do I have to translate my words into Thai again? I just mentioned that foreigners entering into Thailand must present their health certificates.”

The PM’s remark also directly contradicts those of Department of Disease Control director Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, who said only travellers from countries with confirmed infections would be required to present their certificates.

“Everyone who travels from the countries with ongoing local transmission or the countries with infection cases reported by the World Health Organisation must present their health certificates. Health insurance policies with a minimum medical coverage of 100,000 US dollars are also needed before buying plane tickets. They will also be subjected to screenings upon their departure and arrival to Thailand. This is the Cabinet’s decision and we are enforcing every measure mentioned.”

SOURCES: Khaosod English | Khaosod English | Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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