While Thailand is pushing full steam ahead to reopen to international tourism, the United States government issued a statement warning Americans not to travel to Thailand citing Covid-19 risks and civil unrest in the south. The US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs regularly updates travel information for US citizens wishing to go abroad, issuing a Travel Advisory Level from 1 to 4, and this week rated Thailand Level 3.
The four stages are: Level 1 – exercise normal precautions, Level 2 – exercise increased caution, Level 3 – reconsider travel, Level 4 – do not travel. The travel advisory was released last week, but notifications were sent this morning by email to US citizens who travel abroad and are registered in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The STEP system notifies travelling Americans of Embassy warnings on safety conditions in requested countries.
The STEP system does often act like an overbearing mother, warning travellers of all possible problems and leaning towards an overabundance of caution. But the current warning comes in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control who has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice in a similar 4-tiered warning system due to outbreaks of Covid-19 in Thailand.
The CDC rates Thailand as “very high” for Covid-19 Levels and advises that only fully vaccinated people consider travel to Thailand. This is in line with Thailand’s current reopening rules requiring all international arrivals to be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travellers are warned by the CDC not to attempt travel to Thailand unless it’s absolutely essential and warns that anyone travelling to Thailand runs a high risk of being exposed to Covid-19. They recommend following all Thai requirements including wearing a mask and social distancing.
In the travel advisory, the US Department of State also cautions against travelling to the south of Thailand, citing the risk of violence in Songkhla, Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. The south is also experiencing a surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 increasing risk. The US warns that a domestic insurgency commits occasional violent acts in the region. Though directed generally at the Thai government, attacks could take place in public areas with indiscriminate targets.
Martial law has been declared in areas in the south and the American government warns that they must obtain special authorisation to travel into the area so are limited in their ability to assist US nationals in the southern provinces.
For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.
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