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Test & Go registration suspended – Here’s what we know about entry to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Photo (October 2021) via Suvarnabhumi Airport

This story was updated on Monday, December 27.

Just 7 weeks after introducing (almost) quarantine-free re-entry into Thailand, the Thai government announced it is suspending registration for the Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme as well as the “Sandbox” scheme, with the exception of the Phuket Sandbox. Those who have registered, and been approved, under the Thailand Pass system can still enter the country under Test & Go or the Sandbox scheme.

The new rules have been posted in the Royal Gazette, making it official. The decision was made due to the increasing number of Omicron cases involving travellers entering Thailand from overseas, according to the deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natapanu Nopakun, speaking during a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation.

Natapanu cited a recent World Health Organisation report saying the Omicron variant is spreading much faster than the Delta variant. He added that closing Thailand Pass registration is intended to prevent the potential increase in local transmissions, which would, in turn, overwhelm the healthcare system and impact people’s livelihoods.

The first local transmission of the Omicron variant in Thailand was reported on Monday, December 20. The following day, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration held an urgent meeting, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, and decided to close registration for the two entry schemes until further notice. The CCSA will discuss revisions to the Thailand Pass after the holidays on January 4.

Travellers from approved countries can still apply for the Thailand Pass to enter the country under the Phuket Sandbox or the Alternative Quarantine schemes. (See below)

The Test & Go scheme has allowed vaccinated travellers from low risk countries to enter Thailand with a minimal quarantine period at a hotel while they wait for results from an RT-PCR test, which can take up to a day. The Sandbox programme has allowed vaccinated travellers to roam freely in provinces and areas approved for the pilot tourism scheme for seven days before travelling throughout the country.

Entry for those approved for Thailand Pass

Those who have been approved under the Test & Go or sandbox programme, and have received a Thailand Pass QR code, can still enter Thailand under the two schemes.

Those travellers are now required to undergo an additional RT-PCR test, with the first one taken upon arrival and the second test taken at a government-designated facility on their seventh day in Thailand. Click HERE for a list of laboratories accredited for RT-PCR testing.

The Thai government made an announcement and with an official graphic saying the last group of those approved under the Test & Go scheme will be able to enter until January 10. The Department of Consular Affairs, which runs the Thailand Pass website, has not made an official statement on a cut off date for those registered for the Test & Go and Sandbox schemes. The order published in the Royal Gazette also does not include a cut off travel date for those who have already registered or been approved. UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since confirmed that their is no cutoff date.

Registered for the Thailand Pass, but waiting for approval

For applicants who have registered through the Thailand Pass, but have not received a QR code, will need to wait until they are approved. Once approved, they can enter Thailand under the scheme they registered for.

Entry under the Phuket Sandbox

Travellers can still register and enter under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, which allows fully vaccinated travellers to stay on the island province rather than isolating at a quarantine-approved hotel. Travellers must stay on the island for at least seven days and book a stay at a hotel or resort approved for the scheme.

Travellers will need to undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival, and then another before day seven of their stay in Thailand. Both tests are at the expense of the traveller. An earlier test will be given if the traveller develops Covid-19 symptoms.

Travellers must apply for a Thailand Pass QR code. Click HERE.

Entry under Alternative Quarantine

Travellers entering Thailand under the Alternative Quarantine scheme… or as tourism officials like to call it “Happy Quarantine,” must isolate at an approved hotel, resort, or quarantine facility, seven to 14 days. The length of the quarantine period depends on vaccination status and which country the traveller is coming from.

Travellers will undergo two to three RT-PCR tests before being released from quarantine.

Travellers must apply for a Thailand Pass QR code. Click HERE.

Countries on Thailand’s “no entry” list

Travellers from eight African countries are currently banned from entering Thailand due to the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. Those countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

 

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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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