With the UK’s fast-spreading strain of Covid-19 now present in several different countries around the world, Thailand is considering a ban on entrants from the UK to prevent it from reaching the Land of Smiles and causing their recent spike to get even worse. The weekend saw Bangkok head into lockdown amid rising cases in the region, with many restrictions affecting millions of people in and around the Thai capitals. Here’s the latest on the looming travel ban, and what Bangkok’s new lockdown consists of.
Thailand Considers UK Travel Ban – What Travelers Should Know
The Ministry of Public Health in Thailand is to ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) – Thailand’s governmental body responsible for combating the spread of the coronavirus – to place an entry ban on those from the UK.
The decision follows the first instance of the UK’s mutated Covid-19 strain being discovered in the country. The strain was found in four British nationals – a family consisting of two parents and two children – who entered the country on December 21st. Fortunately, it did not spread to anybody else on their flight, and they are now being kept in an isolated, negative pressure room in a hospital in order to prevent transmission.
Whilst the ban is not yet official, it is expected to be put into place in the next couple of days. Thailand will become the latest country in a long list of those who have placed bans on British travelers, though there are usually exceptions for essential travel, those with residency and those on repatriation flights.
Bangkok’s Lockdown Latest
Thailand today recorded its worst day of the pandemic so far, with 745 cases of the virus recorded, with 709 of the cases deemed local transmissions. As cases continue to rise, Thailand has moved swiftly in order to try and get the situation under control, and has introduced several new rules and restrictions to help it achieve this.
Its restrictions have been wide-reaching, particular for the worst-affected provinces that have been categorized as “red zones”, of which Bangkok is one. Schools have been ordered to close from today, whilst bars, pubs and nightclubs have also been forced to close. Boxing stadiums and gyms too have closed, and many other businesses face operating hour restrictions and requests to work from home.
However, rules have been changing daily. Today, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that restaurants in the city would not be allowed to provide table service after 7 PM, and alcohol-free meals before that time. Yet only a few hours later, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha intervened and overruled the BMA, extending the time to 9PM.
Is It A Good Time To Visit Thailand?
Tourists flock to Thailand in their millions to take advantage of its cultural, natural and spiritual offerings. Yet whilst now might seem like the perfect time to visit, with beaches empty, rainy season over and hotel rates slashed, it isn’t all plain sailing.
Thailand has a pricey mandatory quarantine system in place that requires travelers to be tested prior to arrival and to take further tests when in the country. Many businesses have struggled with the lack of tourists and have closed down, making popular beach towns more bearing closet resemblance to ghost towns in recent months, and so those who travel at present aren’t likely to receive the full experience that Thailand is renowned for.
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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