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Thumbs down for Thailand’s Test & Go Version 2

Tim Newton

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Test & Go V2.0 has received a universal thumbs down by Thaiger readers and viewers. Or just about anywhere else in the online comments space. The rebooted, and slightly more complicated, Test & Go option, part of the three-part Thailand Pass online re-entry program, was relaunched on Thursday for travellers arriving after February 1.

Initially launched on November 1, and a popular option for travellers during both November and December last year, Test & Go has had a few tweaks before the announcement to reboot the program on Thursday. It’s now Test & Go, then test again, then go… hopefully.

An added 5th day booking of an SHA+ hotel, and accompanying PCR test, plus more insurance demands for travellers, was roundly criticised in all The Thaiger comments sections. In fact we battled to find even one complimentary post welcoming the second version of the, apparently, “quarantine-exemption” re-entry. From tatness.org

“Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved the resumption of the Exemption from Quarantine (TEST & GO) entry scheme.”

In fact it’s anything but quarantine-free. Now, with not one, but two, compulsory one-night stays at an SHA+ hotel and an additional PCR test… both at the traveller’s cost. The additional Day 5 PCR check seems to be the straw the broke the back of any final goodwill travellers had for Thailand at this time.

Remember, these travellers were already required to have a PCR test in their home country before they travel to Thailand then, in many cases, another PCR (or Rapid Antigen Test) test before they get on the plane and head home.

The timing isn’t great either with the traditional high season already winding down. Sure, there will still be Thais, expats and other travellers that need to, or particularly WANT to, get to Thailand at this time, but any huge surge in tourism, under the current guidelines, can’t be expected to be higher than the November and December totals last year.

Whilst much of the world is making progress with fewer restrictions and ‘opening up’, Thailand has introduced a new versions of Test & Go with MORE restrictions.

The online response has been universally brutal….

Lone Wolf
The current situation budget and short holidays tourist is limited at best then you add the constant changing of visa rules is not workable for a lot of tourists who needs to organise trips months in advance.

WD ONeal
My kids and grandkids were going to come in March. Planned on dropping $25-30K US on the Thai economy while here. Well the second hotel PCR test requirement was just too much for them to deal with. They travel often and said they never saw so many absurd requirements.

Smiley McGee
I went to Thailand in late November under the first “Test&Go” and stayed 4 weeks. Turned out I was really lucky and had good timing. For me to go back again they need to drop every restriction and go back to normal. Too much of a risk going to Thailand during these times.

John Mac
Thailand is going to lose a Significant quantity of tourist if they proceed with the new Test & Go Rules. Why can’t they just accept the RT-PCR Test that travelers get 72 hours before departure to Thailand.

Peter Ino
It’s too complicated and risky. I think they need to consider that asymptomatic tourists pose little threat if they are responsible and use a mask. Surely it’s time to treat this as a bad flu.

jkn1960
Test,Go,Stop,Test,Go Again (if you’re lucky). Tourism will never recover until they come up with something sensible.

Charles Brie
I gave up on trying to vacation in Thailand. There are way too many requirements amd restrictions at this time. Perhaps they will get it all sorted out by 2025. Until then, Europe, USA, and South America seem like easier vacation options.

Alex Kid
Problem is not the cost of PCR test …. the problem is the 2 PCR test after arrival which can totally ruin your holidays if you are positive.

Check any of The Thaiger forums and comments sections for yourselves (or just about any other comment space on the topic). Honestly, we’ve never seen such an outpouring of such negative commentary on a particular topic.

The other problem is, not so much the added complexities and costs, it’s the risks of testing positive. And those risks are neither low nor cheap. Again, The Thaiger has been flooded with emails and desperate pleas for help from people that have been caught in a Covid hell – forcefully quarantined, at their cost, in AQ hotels, hospitals and field hospitals. Most asymptomatic. Some have had the double whammy, because of their incarceration, of missing flights and visa expirations, and been fined for overstay when eventually leaving the country.

Some of these horror stories have ended up in international media…. “Australian girl, 14, locked in Thai Covid hotel as travel horror stories pile up”

Whilst the tourism and hospitality sector are doing their best to put a positive spin on the situation and get their own businesses up and going again, some at great cost, they must also be shaking their head as Thai officialdom appears, at least from the outside, to be making things as complex as possible.

Of course Thailand can be generally proud of its Covid response. Whilst many of us feared the worst, in the early days, Thailand showed that with consistent, and at times almost draconian, restrictions and closures, a country CAN limit the direct health implications of the coronavirus.

South East Asia, generally, has been one of the least hard hit parts of the world. When it comes toCovid-related deaths per million population, Malaysia leads SE Asian countries but is still #86 on the list of 224 countries, territories and specific Covid incidents.

Then you have to scroll down to #119 to find Indonesia. Thailand is #134. Even though people will point to reduced testing in some cases, over-burdened hospitals or spikes in general death rates have not been a feature indicating any underlying, undetected Covid surges in these countries. Diet? Climate? DNA? That will surely be the topic for later studies.

We imagine that, given the general improvement in the Covid situation around the world, and the continuing low numbers of Covid infections in the Kingdom, that the CCSA will swiftly reduce the number of restrictions and paperwork hurdles currently confronting travellers. But, for now, travellers will have the option of Test & Go V2.0 and various Sandbox programs to contemplate from February 1, 2022.

HERE’S the website for the Thailand Pass.

Here’s yesterday’s Good Morning Thailand program where we went through many of the changes and viewer’s reactions to the new version of Test & Go.

SOURCES: worldometers.info | tatnews.org

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you are fully vaccinated and looking to travel to Thailand, you may enter by a 1 Day Test & Go package.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

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    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current English Content Manager for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

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