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Health Minister says quarantine could be reduced to 10 days, maybe eventually zero

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: WHO/Ploy Phutpheng

Health officials are ready to reduce the mandatory quarantine period for foreign tourists, provided other relevant bodies agree. The current quarantine period is set at 14 days, but the Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, says this could be reduced to 10. He adds that if the reduction is successful, quarantine could be further reduced, eventually reaching a point where quarantine is no longer a requirement.

“The truth is, the Public Health Ministry is ready for the change, but other relevant agencies still have requested time to adjust. So, we have to wait and work together. The Department of Disease Control proposed reducing quarantine to 10 days to begin with. I have said that if we are confident, we do not have to be afraid since the goal is finding the safest period for quarantine. If we find a good method, it may be reduced to 5, 4, 3 days, or even none.”

On Tuesday, Thailand welcomed the first group of foreign tourists to arrive in the Kingdom since borders were shut in late March. The Chinese visitors, who arrived from Shanghai, are all in 14-day quarantine, with all of them testing negative for Covid-19 so far. Once quarantine is over, they will be free to travel around, but their movements will be tracked via an app they had to download on arrival.

While a reduction in the quarantine period may go some way to encouraging more tourists to come, Anutin is not in favour of removing all entry restrictions. With travel restrictions lifted between many European countries, Covid-19 cases are once more on an upward trajectory, with officials concerned about what the approaching winter months will bring. Anutin points to the success so far of Thailand’s quarantine programme, stressing the importance of keeping Covid-19 out, particularly in high-risk communities such as the border with Myanmar in Tak province.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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