A recent outbreak of cases of Covid-19 in Thailand in a province near to the capital has prompted discussions of potential lockdowns in the future. With the epicentre of the most recent cluster just 45km from Bangkok, it’s thought that the city will be one of the surrounding areas affected should emergency measures come to fruition. Here’s a look at what’s already been done in the Land of Smiles to contain the spread, how the virus is affecting the country and what it might mean for travelers.
Samut Sakhon Is Locked Down – Are Travelers Likely To Be Affected?
The most recent outbreak of coronavirus has taken place in Samut Sakhon, a small province about 45 minutes away from Bangkok, the world’s most visited city. More than 1,000 of Thailand’s most recent cases of the virus have been traced back to a seafood market in the province, where it spread rapidly amongst their many migrant workers and those coming to buy produce.
As a result, strong restrictions have been imposed on the province to limit the spread further. Those currently in the province are now unable to leave, whilst there is a curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM in place until January 3rd. Given there’s little in the province that would appeal to travelers, it’s unlikely to have too much of an effect on anyone’s travel plans. However, the strong reaction to the virus has already seen many events cancelled in the capital.
Bangkok’s Reaction – Is The Party Over For Travelers?
Being so close to the virus’ most recent outbreak, Bangkok has moved quickly to curb its spread. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has made the decision to cancel all of the New Year countdown events in the city to limit the mass congregation of people and lessen the risk of further infections.
In addition to this, bars and pubs will have limits on patron numbers, as well as strict social distancing policies and a ban on dancing. Markets in the city to become mandatory mask zones, whilst boxing stadiums too must ensure they are following Covid-19 safety protocols more diligently. Some schools are also to close for a period of two weeks, whilst people have also been asked to work from home if possible.
With many travelers already in Thailand and some going through the effort of quarantine with the hopes of bringing in the New Year in Bangkok, this news is sure to come as a blow – but it may only be the start. Bangkok’s lockdown at the start of the pandemic saw strict regulations brought in, such as curfews and a ban on alcohol sales.
Thailand’s Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul admitted that lockdowns such as the one in Samut Sakhon may extend to other provinces. Should the latest outbreak continue to worsen, such restrictions may come into place once more in the capital.
Can Travelers Still Visit Thailand?
At the moment, travelers are still able to visit Thailand. Last week, the Thai government announced that many nationalities were now eligible for the 30-day visa on arrival in a bid to boost tourism numbers. However, visitors to Thailand have a negative test for the virus prior to boarding the flight and then must quarantine for a period of 14 days, during which they will take three tests for Covid-19.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Michael Somsri Lundin
Friday 25th of December 2020
We will be treated like animals, because they usually have a quarantine of 14 days - when they are to be moved between countries, as well as vaccination certificates and more.
The downgrade of human dignity is now in its essence.
Monday 21st of December 2020
Thailand has announced the return of the visa exemption (visa-free) for eligible citizens of the 56 countries. Please note that there is a difference between a visa on arrival and a free visa entry. A visa-free entry usually is good for 30 days and a few nation is entitled for 90 days. Citizens under the visa on arrival may stay up to 15 days depending on each nationality and the supporting documents needed.
Visa-free refers to the ability to travel to a foreign country without the need for a travel visa. Visa on arrival means that travellers must obtain a visa in order to enter the destination country, but it can be obtained upon arrival. Visitors do not need to apply for a travel visa beforehand.
Monday 21st of December 2020
is there some sort of conspiracy going on whenever Thailand is ready to open its doors for tourists new outbreaks is reported. I was hoping that quarantine days will be slashed to minimum but seems like 14 day quarantine is the new normal for next little while.....