Thailand News Today | The End of Entry Restrictions in Thailand (Almost)

Thailand’s CCSA has just announced major changes to the country’s Test & Go program, part of the broader Thailand Pass.
International travellers will no longer need to take a PCR test on arrival. The requirement to book a SHA+ hotel as part of the Test & Go entry scheme is also abolished under today’s CCSA decision.

The removal of the PCR test for vaccinated travellers is the big headline for today’s changes whilst the CCSA will still recommend an ATK test on the fifth day and expect travellers to monitor their health whilst in Thailand. Insurance coverage requirements will also be dropped from US$20,000 dollar to US$10,000.
The bad news is that the Thailand Pass remains a registration for anybody wanting to enter Thailand, Thais, and foreigners. Documentation, including vaccination certificates and proof, go insurance will still need to be uploaded and approved before your arrival in Thailand.

The CCSA also discussed the re-opening of all land border checkpoints and has reviewed the color-coding of provinces based on their infection rates.
In other good news, it was confirmed that restaurants, even the ones operating as ‘pseudo bars’, and SHA+ registered, will be able to remain open until midnight. But this ‘official’ requirement has been broadly floated in recent months as nightlife owners have pushed to return to ‘normal’ operating hours.

All this is expected to be enacted from May 1, next week. But a confirmed date has not been announced at this time. All the changes will need to be signed off and published in the Royal Gazette, expected to happen early next week.

Donated supplies of the Covavax protein sub-unit vaccine will be offered to the unvaccinated, as well as people who are allergic to other vaccine types. Opart Karnkawinpong from Thailand’s Department of Disease Control says the doses, which were donated by India and partner countries in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, have already been sent to the Medical Sciences Department to be cleared for distribution.

According to a Thai PBS World report, the protein subunit vaccine will be offered to those who remain unvaccinated, as well as people who are allergic to other vaccines, provided they are given the go-ahead from their doctor. The vaccine is administered in 2 doses, which are given 3 weeks apart. According to the report, there are currently no plans to offer the vaccine as a booster dose.

Covavax, and other protein subunit vaccines, contain harmless, purified fragments of the virus, selected for their ability to trigger immunity. The technology behind the vaccine is considered safe and is already in use in many common vaccines, including those used to inoculate against hepatitis B.

Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul says officials are still calling on people to get vaccinated or get their booster doses when offered, in particular young people returning to school when the new term starts in mid-May. It’s understood that fewer than 50% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received a first vaccine dose and only around 4% have received 2 doses.

Of children between the ages of 12 and 17, 87% have received their first vaccine dose and over 74% have received 2 doses. However, only 1.6% have received a booster dose. The government has reserved 7 million vaccine doses, which will be administered to school students during the month of May.***

Metabolism —

An Indian tourist in Pattaya claims that last night, a Thai woman, and a ‘transgender individual’, who both wore ‘sexy dresses’, stole his gold necklace worth about 33,000 baht. The 45-year-old tourist told The Pattaya News the pair also tried to convince him to sleep with them.

The tourist said he noticed later after he had rejected the alleged thieves’ approach, that his pricey necklace was missing. He filed a report to Pattaya City Police last night, saying the incident happened in front of a hotel on Pattaya Second Road. Police immediately arrived at the scene, and are checking CCTV footage nearby in order to track down the suspects, and take further legal actions.

Last month, a video circulated on social media with the caption “Sukhumvit road. Gold chain rip off. Be careful of the ladyboy gangsters”. This was after a western man’s gold necklace was stolen as he was taking a video of himself walking in Bangkok’s Asoke area off Sukhumvit Road. As he was walking by the BTS station at night, a person who appeared to be a transgender woman approached him, wrapping her arms around his neck in a hug and unclasping the necklace. The foreigner didn’t notice and she walked off with the necklace.

Four police officers from the main city Samut Sakhon Police Station, southwest of central Bangkok, were dismissed from their positions after being reported for allegedly selling “special tickets” to trafficked Burmese migrants.

The tickets required Burmese migrant workers to pay a monthly fee of 500 baht and carry the tickets everywhere to avoid arrest.
On April 19th, Thai media reported on the Facebook page, The EXIT Thaipbs, that they received information about the special tickets from the Burmese migrants living in Samut Sakhon. The page said Burmese people in the area called it “500 baht tickets” because they had to pay the officers 500 baht every month to avoid arrest.

The ‘ticket’ just looked like a local bus ticket. It was a small piece of paper that featured the name, company name, phone number, and the expiry date. The page also claimed that one Burmese migrant insisted that the police immediately released him after seeing the ticket.

The investigation started after the story went viral. The Commissioner of Provincial Police Region 7, Thanayut Wutcharatthamrong, says that the authorities were now going to investigate the situation.

Yesterday, Thai media reported that the commissioner side-lined 4 police to office duties as the allegations are investigated. They will now be working at the Office of the Provincial Police Region 7 from yesterday until the completion of the investigation.
The 4 dismissed officers include the superintendent, deputy superintendent, inspector police, and a squad leader. The superintendent of the main city Samut Sakhon Police Station announced that he was ready to stand down from his position and is willing to be questioned.

After a guard at the Thonburi Women’s Correctional Institute in Bangkok was suspected of corruption and bribery, an investigation is now underway. In return for alleged special treatment, the guard wanted money from the family of a prisoner. The guard, who has not been named, is now suspended during the investigation and will be fired if proven guilty.

Somsak Thepsuthin, the Justice Minister, has directed the Corrections Department to look into the matter. The order came after Pornpimol Suansamran, the daughter of the inmate, and Ronnarong Kaewphet, a lawyer, filed a case against the unknown guard with Wanlop Nakbua, deputy permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry.

Pornpimol says the guard forced her family to pay by promising to look after her imprisoned mother. She added that she was unable to contact her mother and was worried about her safety. She showed proof, including 9 bank transactions receipts valued at 6,200 baht. Her father regularly gave the money to the guard at her house.

Her mother was a motorbike taxi driver before being arrested last year in June after authorities discovered her bank account had been used to receive money from marijuana dealers.

With department regulations allowing relatives to only communicate with prisoners via video calls due to Covid safeguards, the unnamed guard reportedly said that family visits were ‘banned’.

The family lost contact with the mother after the payments were made. They were told that writing letters weren’t allowed either because of “pandemic restrictions”. Later, it was revealed that this ‘restriction’ was bogus.
The daughter told investigators that the guard offered to give her mother lighter jobs for her to do, and would take good care of her during her time behind bars.