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Plans to scrap pre-departure Covid-19 test requirement still need confirmation

Caitlin Ashworth

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Photo via Phuket International Airport - HKT (December 2021)

It might soon get a little easier to travel to Thailand. The government plans to scrap the pre-departure Covid-19 test requirements for vaccinated travellers entering the country under the Test & Go and Sandbox schemes. A spokesperson says they are waiting for confirmation.

Under the planned revisions, just a PCR Covid-19 test is needed on arrival and a self-administered rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay in Thailand under the Test & Go and Sandbox schemes, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the CCSA briefing in English. Plans to scrap the required PCR test before departure still needs to be confirmed, he says.

“It is being considered that the RT-PCR test prior to arrival will not be required anymore. That is being considered, according to the discussions in the general meeting today. When there’s a confirmation… when there’s an actual release on that, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

The pre-departure PCR test, taken at least 72 hours before takeoff, has been seen as a deterrent to travel as many say it is not only inconvenient, but expensive, especially for those travelling with children.

For those who are unvaccinated, the mandatory quarantine period is being cut down. Starting April 1, those entering under the Alternative Quarantine scheme, which is opened to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers has been reduced to five days.

Travellers entering Thailand, with the exception of Thai citizens and returning expats, need health insurance covering US$20,000.

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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