Reducing the quarantine period in Thailand: 5 things to know

Starting today, April 1, Thailand is shortening its mandatory quarantine period for foreigners arriving in the country.

The kingdom will use its soil as a testing ground for all tourism dependent countries in the world.

Reducing the period of isolation is a crucial step in the recovery of South Asia’s second-largest economy, but this attempt could put the country at risk of a new national epidemic.

Thailand will be the first country in the region to shorten the period of isolation required.

In other parts of the world, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since December has recommended that travelers stay at home for seven days if they are tested for Covid-19 after arrival, in addition to the one. required before their departure, and for ten days if they do not do so, or less than 14 days in both cases.

The UK also shortened this period from 14 to 10 days in December.

The Thai government has not released any specific data on the scientific or medical basis it relied on to make this decision.

However, judging from the information provided by the relevant government agency, here is what you can expect and know:

What will change in April?

According to the Covid-19 Situation Administration Center, which oversees the Thai government’s coronavirus policies, Thais and others arriving from abroad will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days, less than the 14 days previously required.

Travelers will need to undergo two PCR tests: one between the third and fifth day after arrival, and another between the ninth and tenth day.

During their isolation, people will be allowed to move around inside the establishments where they are staying.

They can use the fitness centers and swimming pools and shop in boutiques.

Previously, people in quarantine could not leave their rooms.

In addition, people who have been vaccinated can travel to six popular tourist regions – the provinces of Phuket, Krabi, Pang-nga, Samui, Chonburi and Chiang Mai – after a seven-day quarantine from April.

People arriving from countries with an outbreak of the mutated coronavirus still need to be isolated for two weeks.

These countries include the African nations of Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Cameroon and Congo.

How will Thailand proceed with this new easing?

The government plans to conduct a sandbox experiment from July 1 requiring no quarantine for foreign travelers vaccinated on the popular tourist island of Phuket in the south of the country.

According to Governor Yuthasak Supasorn of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the experiment requires the prior vaccination of at least 70% of the island’s residents.

The Covid-19 Situation Administration Center has an ambitious plan to expand the experience to all regions of Thailand where more than 70% of the population has been vaccinated.

What other measures has Thailand taken to attract visitors?

While not as general a measure as reducing the quarantine period, Thailand has introduced unique alternatives to 14 days of isolation after the foreigner’s arrival.

These options were intended to remind visitors of the kingdom’s tourist attractions.

In January, the government came up with the idea of ​​a “golf quarantine”, in which visitors spend their first two weeks in Thailand at a golf resort.

They must stay in their room for the first three days, but are then allowed to go outside and play if their PCR test is negative.

The first group of 42 golfers – 41 Koreans and one Japanese – arrived on February 19 and successfully completed their 14 days on March 3 at the Artitaya Golf and Resort in Nakhon Nayok, about 65 km northeast of Bangkok. .

On March 10, the Tourism Authority of Thailand announced another option, “digital quarantine on yachts”, on the island of Phuket.

This project allows boat owners and others on board to carry out their 14-day quarantine on their boat.

Upon arrival, they should arrange a PCR test with the health authorities.

Visitors are given a smart tracking bracelet, which they must wear at all times during quarantine to monitor their pulse, blood pressure and body temperature, and they must stay within 10 km of shore.

After analyzing the data acquired for 14 days, visitors can descend ashore in Phuket.

Why is it so important for Thailand to open its borders as quickly as possible?

Welcoming tourists is a key element in boosting the Thai economy, as tourism accounts for around 20% of the kingdom’s gross domestic product.

The economy contracted 6.1% in 2020, as service exports – which include spending by both non-residents and tourists – plunged 60% from 2019.

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