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Thailand’s Public Health Ministry plans to request new entry rules

Tara Abhasakun

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Photo via Phuket International Airport - HKT (November 2021)

If the CCSA approves it, Thailand could have new entry rules starting on May 1. The new rules the Public Health Ministry plans to request are intended to revive the country’s crippled tourism economy,.

The country’s Tourism and Sports Minister has also stated that his ministry will ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to consider further easing entry rules, such as replacing on-arrival RT-PCR tests with simpler and quicker antigen tests.

The requests are in line with a previously published 4-step plan to reduce restrictions and paperwork up to July 1 this year. On May 1 the plan was to remove the PCR test on arrival, and the associated 1 might SHA+ hotel booking, and replace with an airport ATK 9Rapid Antigen Test), on arrival.

Yesterday was the first day that the pre-travel PCR test was scrapped from the Thailand Pass, although there are still some airlines that require a PCR test before you can get on their planes to travel, regardless of the Thailand Pass.

He says the ministry is proposing that Thailand Pass registration be scrapped from June 1 – that would be a full month earlier than the published 4-step reopening plan published in March.

The Tourism and Sports minister says test results would be certified, and visitors would be allowed freedom of movement instantly after getting a negative result at the airport, a major step forward from the current regime of testing.

The Tourism and Sports ministry estimates that at least 7 million foreign tourists will visit Thailand this year. It expects this will make Thailand 30% of the 3 trillion baht made in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit (in 2019 there were 39,600,000 international visitors to Thailand).

But some conditions must be met before Thailand can change its entry rules. The minister said daily infections must remain below 60,000, and fatalities under 100. The Public Health Ministry reports that Thailand had a near-record high of 28,029 infections today (similar to yesterday’s record 28,379 new cases), and 96 Covid-related deaths (yesterday was 92 deaths).

Thailand stopped requiring pre-travel PCR tests this week. All travellers – vaccinated and unvaccinated – no longer need to take the pre-departure test, but requirements after entry vary depending on the scheme. The Thai government is gradually easing entry requirements as the country prepares to transition from a pandemic to an endemic in the next several months. Thailand plans to declare Covid-19 an endemic by July 1, but the date could change if there is a spike in the infection rate following the Thai New Year, Songkran, on April 13.

SOURCE: 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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