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Thailand to ease travel restrictions for some countries

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: AFP

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has confirmed the government intends to ease travel restrictions for arrivals from some countries, but the 14 day quarantine remains in place for now. Spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin says the easing of restrictions will be applied to 56 countries, including Australia, the US and France, whose nationals will not require visas to enter Thailand. However, they will need a certificate that confirms they are Covid-free 72 hours before travel, along with a confirmed reservation at a quarantine hotel.

The easing up of the paperwork side of the restrictions will go part of the way to help attract a few more visitors but the 14 day quarantine, including the expense, remains a barrier for any larger numbers of tourists at this stage.

While in 14 day quarantine, they will be subject to 3 Covid-19 tests, as the government conducts an assessment to determine if quarantine could be reduced to 10 days in future. Prior to this, arrivals in quarantine would be tested twice, once around 3-5 days after arrival, and the second time 1-3 days before leaving. They will now be tested 3 times, a policy that is set to continue until the end of the year. Officials then plan to analyse the results to decide if quarantine can be reduced to 10 days. The analysis will begin on January 1, with health officials expected to have a conclusion by January 15.

The current mandatory 14 day quarantine is having a severe effect on an already-crippled tourism industry and officials are hoping that a reduction might encourage more visitors. However, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has said any reduction would only apply to people arriving from countries considered safe from Covid-19.

Ministers and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have already foreshadowed keeping Thailand’s borders closed to general travel until at least April next year. For once the usually over-optimistic TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn. has made a completely honest assessment of the current situation.

“There are unpredictable factors that come into play when trying to determine how 2021 will pan out, like the availability of a Covid-19 vaccine, the number of coronavirus infections and travel restrictions. The tourism sector might not have what’s considered a normal revenue, at least 80% of the pre-pandemic level, until 2022.”

Meanwhile, Taweesilp says the CCSA supports end-of-year festivities going ahead, but organisers and those in attendance must adhere to disease control measures. This echoes a statement from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has proposed splitting large celebrations into smaller zones, where numbers are limited. He warns that events that are not following Covid-19 safety measures can be cancelled.

“Strict measures must be in place while people enjoy themselves during the New Year celebrations. I don’t want people to suffer from Covid-19 after New Year. Everyone must cooperate for the sake of the country’s safety.”

As usual The Thaiger urges people wanting to travel to Thailand at this stage to contact their embassy before they book flights or accommodation. Whilst we receive daily complaints about embassies not responding, all we can do is recommend you PERSIST.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Brendan Cullen

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 9:41 am

    It would be great if you listed the 56 countries. Thanks

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:45 am

      You can get the full list easily on line. Its actually 56 + 6 more with bilateral agreements + 4 more with agreements for longer than the standard 30 days(temporarily 45), so pretty extensive.

      Some on the list are also temporarily excluded due to Covid, notably Italy.

      • Avatar

        Dondi

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:23 pm

        Where to see the list sir??
        Is indonesia included?
        So in this new scheme we can travel to there like before without apply a visa?
        Cause before indonesia no need apply visa can stay 30 days in there.

      • Avatar

        Neil

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:38 pm

        Sound like a step in the right direction.
        Do you have a link for the site you refer to, thanks.?

        • Avatar

          Richard

          Monday, December 21, 2020 at 6:38 pm

          Oh hell…!!! Just what we need wave of new cases, if they come. Already got 800 new cases due to migrate workers being allow in. Great show of leadership Uncle

      • Avatar

        Lao

        Monday, December 21, 2020 at 2:39 am

        “Thai authorities have issued a new list of 56 countries and territories whose citizens do not require a visa and can stay in the Kingdom for up to 30 days, with a 15 days extension.

        The countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Principality of Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Republic of Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Peru, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

        Meanwhile, non-immigrant visa holders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and South Korea can stay for a maximum of 90 days based on inter-governmental agreements.”

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

    As an American I do appreciate the no visa to travel change. Huge improvement to say the least and quite surprising too. I still won’t come until the quarantine is dropped or at least nothing more than a handful of days (yes that could take awhile). Even so personally I think it says a lot America made this list. The writing is on the wall going forward kind of thing. For a person who loves Thailand gives us a little hope again.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      I think you may be a bit premature or reading a bit too much into America’s inclusion on the “list”.

      • Avatar

        EdwardV

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        Just going by what is in the article. We are all sure you have the correct information and as always we all stand corrected. Doesn’t matter to me either way since the earliest I’m returning to Thailand is next fall.

  3. Avatar

    RA

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Great news, love to see Thailand moving forward. Some here think this virus is fake. The U.S. has a little over 4% of the world population, however it has almost 24% of the infections and 19% of the worlds deaths because of it. Now this may be due in part because of the lack of testing and reporting from other countries. I don’t believe the numbers out of China in the least. In the U.S. I personally believe this is due in part to the complete failure of the current leadership, or lack of even trying to lead. Lead, Follow, or get the F out of the way.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:26 am

      For once, we’re in full agreement.

  4. Avatar

    gosport

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Praying Thailand wont be the hotspot when the most virus hit country nationals escape. 20 days for them.

  5. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Australia/New Zealand I could certainly agree with, they are both virtually virus free, but unfortunately they currently aren’t allowed out of their country. BUT to include France, and the USA? What are they thinking about? They are amongst the MOST infected countries of the Western nations, (including Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain and most of the rest of Europe) the USA has in excess of 311,000+ deaths which are, to date rising rapidly. Are the Thai politicians completely devoid of brains? They certainly appear to be. Thailand has lost its tourism industry, which is painful, if covid is ‘let in’ through lax controls of its boarders, they could also lose much of its industry and agriculture as well, which could be an unmitigated disaster for the country.

    • Avatar

      EdwardV

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      I get where you are coming from and do mostly agree. However to be fair the only thing really changing with this announcement is those Americans (and whoever else) don’t have to get a visa before getting on the plane. Everything else had already been changed or is staying the same. Realistically as long as the 14 day quarantine remains in place tourists are still not going to show up. Those minuscule amount that do still have to get a negative pretest and do a 14 day quarantine with a third test in Thailand thrown in for good measure. There isn’t a lot of risk at that point. Personally I think all they are doing is more playing at the margins to make it look like they are trying to help the sector. That and getting ready for when they do open as early as the spring.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:06 pm

        Given that Thais won’t have been vaccinated by then, that they tend to take vaccinations seriously without a vocal anti-vaxxer brigade, and that vaccinations anywhere are going to take a while (if vaccinations in the UK continue at the present rate it will take ten years just to vaccinate the population once!), I think (hope) “as early as the spring” may be a bit optimistic 🙂

        • Avatar

          EdwardV

          Friday, December 18, 2020 at 6:42 pm

          Wow an entire paragraph to point out “as early as” might turn out to mean a later date. In other words exactly what is written. Regardless it’s not my projection. An article on this site quoted a Thai official as stating they might start letting in tourists as early as March.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      I think there appears to be some confusion, particularly as this has come from the CCSA and not a more appropriate source such as Immigration, as it seems to be a change in visa policy, not Covid related, in which case the CCSA may be jumping the gun and confusing things.

      As far as I can see it’s simply the “standard” list of the 56 countries least likely to overstay, work illegally, etc, and most likely to spend money and stick with their pre-booked return flight, plus ten more that already have either bilateral or longer agreements for visas on arrival.

      As you say, it could be “an unmitigated disaster” if they were to open the borders, throwing industry and agriculture to the wolves to get a short term fix for tourism, and I just can’t see that happening.

      What this seems to be, which is unfortunately all too common at the moment, is one department (or one person) talking about things that are way beyond their remit (in this case the CCSA “announcing” a major change in visa policy) in a bid to make the most of their 15 minutes of fame, coupled with a Thai media frenzy over anything containing the words “Covid”, “visa” or “border”.

      Looking at this and other reports it looks clear that the 30 day visa on arrival has been / is being extended to 45 days, for 56 countries (plus 10 others) and that will last until either the quarantine on arrival ends, September next year, or indefinitely, and at the same time the quarantine period will be reduced in mid-January for those coming from low risk countries from 14 days to 10.

      There’s no indication of any change to the requirement for a pre-flight Covid check, or medical insurance, for anyone.

      Whether the USA will qualify for a reduction in quarantine time given the current situation there (and China, too, TBH), isn’t known but I imagine the list will be pretty short and require minimal local transmission which should (emphasis on “should”) leave out most of the West.

      All of that, to me, seems perfectly reasonable, pragmatic, and thought through.

      ….. if only there were a few less “announcements” from so many “spokesmen” (and spokeswomen) things might be clearer 🙂

    • Avatar

      Gigitour

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Ogni giorno leggo che thailandesi che ritornano in Thailandia vengono trovati positivi al Covid. Non fanno test 72 ore prima di viaggiare? Se fosse così sono un pericolo per chi viaggia sullo stesso aereo.

      • Avatar

        Eamonn Maher

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 3:44 pm

        Ita vero, Rasputin. And in Irish – “Thor mey mahogany gas pipe”!

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm

        ‘No’, Thais don’t have to be tested before flying, and ‘yes’ it is putting the others on the flight at additional risk.

        Unjustifiably inconsistent.

      • Avatar

        Graeme Drake

        Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 9:05 am

        Is New Zealand one of the 56 countries can not find list anywhere.
        We are currently waiting in New Zealand to go to Thailand but it appears to be so difficult, plus information coming out of Thailand seems to change each day.

      • Avatar

        Fred Johnson

        Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 10:31 am

        Bellissimo Padre!Try english so we can understand,Capisci?

  6. Avatar

    London Al

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Anyone who has fully had the vaccine then has a negative test before departure and another 2 negative tests on arrival along with no symptoms does not have Covid and does not need to be quarantined

    • Avatar

      Rasputin

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 8:44 pm

      You are NOT keeping up with the vaccine developments are you? #1 the various vaccines are NOT 100% effective around 10% or more will not be protected (research still going on) #2 Those given the Pfizer vaccine, although likely be protected from developing covid 19, may be carrying and be able to pass on the virus despite being asymptomatic. (again, research still ongoing) Covid 19 is a previously unknown virus, and there are many questions yet to be answered. It comes down to “how much of a risk is the Thai government prepared to accept” if they get it wrong, the result would be catastrophic to a nation that has so far managed to avoid the carnage experienced elsewhere in most of the civilised world.

  7. Avatar

    Trip

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    99.5% survival rate for anyone under 74 but yeah lets go ahead and kill our main industry. Genius!

    • Avatar

      indisPC

      Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      Fatality rate for the general population is a bit north of 0.2%.

      Under 60 the fatality rate is not statistically significant from zero.

  8. Avatar

    Andre` Munoz

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    As long as they have a 15-night quarantine, no one will return to Thailand, and that will unfortunately ruin the entire economy and tourism in the country.

  9. Avatar

    James R

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Hardly anyone at the moment wants to travel anywhere from any country in the world to anywhere else.

    Thailand has adjusted its rules slightly but it still stands, for 10 to 14 days people will have to stay in an expensive hotel in quarantine which tourists will not want to do.

    My wife might be traveling to Thailand to complete the paperwork on a house sale but as usual, there are two sets of prices, a return ticket with Thai Airways is £800, the two weeks quarantine is free to Thai nationals, so she gets it all for free even though she has been living in England for 35 years, great I thought as things like this make me laugh re Thailand.

    I will wait until it is all over before going again as I am sure 90% of other tourists will.

  10. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 12:36 am

    It’s all still ifs and buts another day another story we must just wait and see I know we all want to come back i had 4 months thier this year magical and the magic will hopefully come back i just hope there’s a magic to come back to and the Thai government hasn’t destroyed it all

  11. Avatar

    Alison Harrow

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 12:50 am

    yes, please send the link to the 56 countries.
    Also, I have a UK passport, but am currently in Egypt, and would come from here.
    Do the rules take into account the departing country, as I have particularly stayed away from uk for the last FOUR months, and been in low-risk countries, so that I can finally get back to Asia, after TEN months away from my fiancee :((

  12. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:10 am

    It’s already ruined it’s like tumble weed town in the resort’s no right minded person man or woman will pay minimum 50,000 baht to sit in a hotel room for 14 nights as most tourists only get 14 days holiday at a time maybe if he or she has a beautiful thai lady with them to pass away the hrs might be more doable for some 555

  13. Avatar

    Chamkeel George

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:22 am

    Thailand should continue to close its borders to countries where covid numbers are clearly/significantly high. Eg. China, USA, India, European nations, Sth American countries, African countries etc. Uhhhh..that just about takes care of 54 countries.

    At the moment, New Zealand and possibly Australia are the only two countries Thailand could realistically contemplate opening its borders to. Pacific nations are too vulnerable so their peoples will not be travelling anywhere soon.

    The thing is why would anyone from Australia or New Zealand or a relatively covidfree country want to go over to Thailand though? Thailand is NOT covid free albiet the covid numbers are low. Corressponding to that is the fact that covid testing in Thailand is very low too.

    Furthermore , this opening the borders to 56 countries is exposing all inbound tourists to covid in the quarantine facilities/hotels. As clearly seen here in New Zealand, no matter how careful the hotel personnel are, some have caught covid from those who have tested positive during quarantine. Getting a health cert 72hrs prior to travelling has still not stopped covid infected people from entering New Zealand as symptoms show up later.

    So for now Thailand should hold its horses and continue to close its borders. Protect your healthcare workers and quarantine hotels staff.

  14. Avatar

    Jim

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 2:52 am

    as long as you test negative 72 hours prior to flight, why does it matter where you come from, and besides, I don’t want to sit next to Thai citizens who have not been tested, that could be the reason foreigners pick up covid

  15. Avatar

    John

    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Wow! This article didn’t age well. PM Prayut just addressed the nation and put a halt to all easing of travel from International countries. I hope no one bought their ticket in 2021

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