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Thai officials talk of replacing second PCR test for Test & Go entry with ATK

Tara Abhasakun

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Photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash.

Day 5 requirements of Thailand’s Test & Go entry scheme has been discouraging some potential tourists from travelling to Thailand. Not only is a second RT-PCT test needed on the fifth day of their stay (the first test on arrival), but travellers are required to book a night at a hotel approved by the Safety and Health Administration while the wait for their results to come back.

Wanting to ease travel procedures, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has asked the Department of Disease control to consider getting rid of the second RT-PCR test requirement for international arrivals. The Tourism and Sports Ministry also plans to make a proposal to scrap the second RT-PCR test and replace it with a rapid antigen test, which can provide results in minutes. The proposal will need to be approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The next meeting is on February 23.

  Thailand targets Europe's big guns to boost tourism as lockdown rules out China

The news comes after the airline company AirAsia claimed that many tourists are discouraged from coming to Thailand because of travel procedures. Anutin is now working to balance recovering the economy, and people’s safety.

Anutin said to end the second test requirement, there must be increased preventative steps, such as speeding up vaccines. He said hospital beds and medicals supplies must be managed carefully, and the ministry is focusing on home isolation. This way, there will be enough beds available for severe cases. The director-general of the DDC said that even though new infections are on the rise, the number of severe cases has actually gone down.

  Thai deputy health minister expects Covid-19 to be over by the end of the year

Tourism operators are calling for all entry restrictions to be lifted. On Wednesday, several groups representing tourism operators submitted a letter to PM Prayut calling for restrictions to be lifted in March. The letter points to countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, where nearly all Covid restrictions have been cancelled and the virus declared endemic.

“Thailand needs to further relax Covid-19 restrictions for tourists now, or else it may lose the ability to compete with other nations.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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