Thailand’s public health minister says Chinese tourists won’t be discriminated against

Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, says the country’s plans to re-introduce Covid-19 related measures won’t discriminate against Chinese travellers. He then went on to say that the measures won’t discriminate against any particular country. But, the government is expected to finalise measures that would apply to visitors arriving from Covid-plagued countries, which include China.

“Relevant officials agree to give the same treatment to visitors from all countries and health measures will not discriminate against visitors from any particular country.”

According to the Bangkok Post, Anutin said that the Thai health system is ready to cope with emergencies. He went on to say that only 5.2% of hospital beds are currently occupied by Covid patients.

The new measures could include the requirement for arriving travellers to present evidence of two Covid vaccine doses and health insurance to cover coronavirus-related expenses. But, Anutin says that Thailand will not implement a lockdown or “strict regulations” in response to the easing of travel restrictions in China.

The ministry said that there is no need to test Chinese arrivals for the virus. China requires anyone travelling out of the country to obtain a negative RT-PCR test result prior within 48 hours of their departure.

Anutin says he expects about 300,000 Chinese visitors to arrive in Thailand during the first quarter of this year.

“There will be 60,000 (Chinese) visitors in January, 90,000 in February and 150,000 in March. Their number will rise gradually because (currently) there are limited flights, it will take time to seek passports and visas and the Chinese government has not allowed tour firms to organise outbound groups of tourists yet.”

He went on to say that Chinese visitors in the near future will be “independent travellers and upscale travellers with purchasing power.”

Meanwhile, Malaysia is responding to China’s recently lifted Covid restrictions with plans to tighten its borders. The Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, announced the country’s plans as fears mount over another Covid wave due to China.

The virus spread rapidly in China after Beijing dropped three-year-long stringent Covid measures last month. Then, Beijing dropped mandatory quarantine on arrival and announced the reopening of the borders on Sunday, January 8, spurring budding Chinese travellers to book trips abroad.

The IATA is expressing its concerns over a worldwide re-introduction of Covid measures by saying that such measures have proved to be ineffective in halting the spread of Covid. It also is concerned that a re-introduction of measures will hamper international connectivity and the global economy.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.
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