Test & Go, Thailand Pass could be gone by June if no Covid surge after Songkran
Thailand’s tourism minister says if there’s no surge in Covid cases following next month’s Songkran holiday, entry restrictions could be eased further. According to a Bangkok Post report, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says Test & Go and Thailand Pass could be scrapped from June 1, if there’s no spike in Covid cases or deaths after the Thai New Year holiday.
Phiphat is anxious for the country to move forward with re-opening, saying it risks getting left behind as neighbouring countries lift their entry restrictions.
“Thailand started like a rabbit, running quickly last year as we re-opened to visitors. We cannot let the country fall behind as many nations are opening borders and have fewer restrictions than us.”
Addressing the Association of Thai Travel Agents at its annual general meeting yesterday, Phiphat stressed the need for the government to work with tourism operators to ease travel restrictions further and attract more overseas visitors. The target for this year is 7 million foreign arrivals, according to the tourism minister. This has been decreased from 10 million due to the surge in Omicron cases and the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With the requirement for a pre-departure PCR test dropped from April 1, Phiphat says restrictions are expected to be eased further from May 1, when the PCR test on arrival could be replaced by an antigen test. However, any easing of entry restrictions is contingent on the country’s caseload following the Songkran holidays.
According to the minister, the number of daily new cases in April, including those detected via antigen tests, should not exceed 50,000 – 60,000. Covid-related deaths should remain below 100. At this point, the tourism ministry would submit a proposal to the CCSA in May, to cancel Test & Go and the Thailand Pass from June 1.
The minister says once the country re-opens fully, a PCR test on arrival should not be required. However, he believes an antigen test on arrival will still be necessary to maintain public confidence in the country’s re-opening. Phiphat says the proposals from his ministry still require the approval of the Public Health Ministry.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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