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Thailand News Update | Test & Go compulsory insurance policies

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As the dust settles on yesterday’s announcement of the reopening of the Test and Go program, the details are slowly emerging of a Test & Go, version 2, which will now require additional paperwork and expenses, including an additional PCR test on Day 5. This means you have to book an SHA+ hotel for both Day 1 and Day 5 of your stay, with both the accommodation and the cost of the PCR test prepaid.The CCSA also announced that the compulsory insurance policies will need to cover ALL contingencies if you happen to test positive, including your additional accommodation costs.Anyway, for travellers wanting or needing to come to Thailand under the revised Test & Go program, you will be able to apply soon for arrival dates starting February 1. As with all CCSA decisions, they need to be blessed by publication in the Royal Gazette before they become law.

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Another featured announcement yesterday was the restart of Sandbox programs in parts of Chon Buri as well as Koh Chang in the Trat province. Specifically, the new Sandboxes will be available in these parts of Chon Buri province… Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip… but only the sub districts of Jomtien and Bang Saray in Sattahip. Also the popular island of Koh Chang.The CCSA said they’re also extending the southern Sandboxes in what they’re calling the Sandbox Extension where you will be able to spend time in up to three locations during your first seven days, across Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga, as well as Koh Samui and the two nearby islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.There’s plenty of other details at ththaiger.com, including the changes to the colour coding of provinces and the extension of drinking hours to 11pm in some locations.

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After a wave of flight cancellations and airline schedule and equipment reshuffling in the US over fears of US 5G services interfering with some navigational aids on planes, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has spoken out to reaffirm that Thailand’s 5G signals in Thailand do not have any conflicts or negative effects on aircraft or flight equipment. Thailand’s civil aviation authorities explained that, in Thailand, 5G bandwidth is on a different wavelength to that in the US, and cannot interfere with anything used in aviation technology. Thailand’s aviation authority also said that they have been closely watching the 5G situation since last year and following the disruptions in US flight schedules over the issue.Unlike virtually every other country in the world, the US didn’t reserve any part of the frequency spectrum exclusively for aviation equipment, and sold an uncomfortably close section of the spectrum to mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon for use in their 5G technology. The 5G frequency the mobile carriers were using and about to activate near airports across the country was very near to the radio altimeter frequencies on Boeing’s popular 777 and 747-8 airplanes.Aviation experts have been quick to clarify that this is a problem unique to the US and that other countries are not experiencing the same risk.

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With storm clouds swirling around the current ruling Palang Pracharat coalition, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday he has no plans for wither a cabinet reshuffle or an early election. His comments follow a dramatic week with the expulsion of 20 renegade MPs who were part of MP Thamanat Prompow’s soft-coup in December when he was trying to get MPs within Palang Pracharat to vote with the opposition in a vote of no confidence in the PM.PM Prayut says the expulsion of the MPs was an internal affair for the party, adding he believed “the party was trying to restore a sense of normalcy as much as possible”.Another group of conservative MPs have also formed a new party and specifically stated they would would not support the current PM in a new election.Complicating the matter, long term deputy PM and loyal stalwart, Prawit Wongsuwan is also the mentor for the renegade MP Thammanat Prompow.With all the recent changes the ruling coalition now has only a wafer thin majority in the lower house.

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On March 24 the Thai 20 baht bank note is getting a radical new update. The Royal portrait will still be prominent but the flimsy, green paper the bills have been printed on for decades is being replaced with a modern new polymer with a glossy, plasticky feel.Starting on March 24, the new, more durable polymer 20 baht banknotes will enter circulation and become legal currency, available at all financial institutions and commercial banks around the country. Anyone who wishes to do so can bring their old paper bills to these banks and exchange them for new polymer notes.
Polymer banknotes were first invented by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in 1988.The new polymer notes don’t absorb dirt or humidity which makes them cleaner and since they’re much more rugged and durable, they don’t need to be taken out of circulation and replaced nearly as frequently as paper bills, making them more environmentally friendly.They also survive the occasional unplanned spin around your washing machine.

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Residents of a Chon Buri housing estate are complaining to local authorities that crop burning at nearby plantations has been causing not only air pollution, but ash has been falling on their cars, houses, and clothes. They say sugar cane plantations in particular were creating the ash in the air through illegal burning, causing poor air quality for the people living in the 100 houses of the estate. But, apparently, the problem is nothing new. Residents say the neighbouring plantations burn their crops every year during this time, and they have complained several times.Crop burning is a sensitive issue in Thailand. Officials often side with farmers as farmers have little or no other method of getting rid of crops. For years, Thailand’s government has vowed to tackle problems with air pollution, both in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Covid-19, however, has shifted the government’s priorities and derailed its plans to do so.

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Pattaya city officials are putting efforts into a number of developments into the Old Town Nakula market in the city to boost domestic and international tourism as well as cultural learning centres as to develop the old fishing town into a coastal destination with restaurants, nightlife, and a top-ranked seafood market.It is one of the primary initiatives in the first phase of the ‘NEO Pattaya’ campaign, which is part of the bigger Eastern Economic Corridor projects.The mayor says that the project aims to develop local infrastructure to support Pattaya as the centre of tourism for Eastern Thailand, specifically focused for this project on domestic tourism.”

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Foreigners with valid visas can now enter Vietnam without having to get approval from the immigration offices or local authorities, starting from next Tuesday as the government eased entry restrictions. This means people with valid temporary residence cards, permanent residence cards, valid visas, and valid visa exemption certificates will be able to enter Vietnam without any permission from the relevant offices.Vietnam’s Deputy PM has also agreed with the new guidelines, adding that local authorities should continue to make it easier for foreigners without visas to enter the country, including obtaining approval and providing instructions on how to do so. Those who want to visit Vietnam for sightseeing must adhere to all restrictions that apply to international visitors. There’s more information about the documentation and visas required in the article at thethaiger.com

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