Thailand Significantly Eases Entry Requirements and Ends ‘Test and Go’ Program
Thailand has taken a monumental step back to normality as the nation eases entry COVID-19 entry requirements. Despite reopening for tourism in 2020—albeit with the controversial Sandbox Schemes—Thailand’s entry requirements have remained strict, especially compared with Western nations.
Thailand hopes easing entry requirements will attract more tourists back to the nation.
In 2019, 39,797,406 tourists visited the country; however, Thailand’s strict COVID-19 restrictions saw that number drop below 500,000 in 2021, causing significant damage to Thailand’s economy.
Thailand’s New Entry Requirements For Tourists
From May 1, fully vaccinated tourists can enter Thailand without any further tests or quarantine, according to Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). However, visitors will require health insurance that covers $10,000 of medical expenses during their stay in Thailand.
The news means fully vaccinated tourists no longer need to reserve one-night hotel accommodation to secure their visas. Travelers will still need to apply for the Thailand Pass with their proof of vaccination. Thailand accepts all vaccines approved by the Ministry of Public Health.
To summarize, if you’re vaccinated:
- No pre-departure or arrival tests
- No need to pre-book a hotel on your first night
- A self-test post-arrival is only to be done if you are having symptoms
- The travel health insurance coverage amount lowered to $10k
Unvaccinated tourists, however, will still need to provide evidence of a negative test result taken within 72 hours of departure for Thailand or complete five days of hotel quarantine and take a test. Travelers only need to take antigen tests if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
To summarize, if you’re unvaccinated:
- No pre-departure or arrival tests
- Yes, booking a hotel for your first 5 nights is still required
- Yes, PCR test is needed on Day 5
CCSA spokesman, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, said: “Looking back to the first three months of this year, we see the numbers of infected international tourists entering the kingdom keep falling,”
“As a result, we considered the plan to open up a little bit more to welcome international tourists and finally approved the easing measure,” he added.
Currently, visitors—regardless of their vaccination status—must take PCR tests upon entry and undergo overnight quarantine at a hotel until they obtain their results.
As a result, if travelers test positive on arrival, they have to undergo a lengthy quarantine period—which will ruin their vacation, especially if they’re visiting for under three weeks.
If travelers test negative for COVID-19, they are free to explore Thailand after their one night in hotel quarantine. However—from May 1—fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to worry about testing. It’s the first time tourists can freely enter Thailand since March 2020; it’s the news millions have been waiting for.
Internal COVID-19 Restrictions Within Thailand
Although Thailand is easing entry requirements next month, an emergency decree remains nationwide.
The emergency decree states all travelers must not:
- Hoard essential goods
- Attend public gatherings
- Propagate false information
- Enter high-risk areas
All travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces within Thailand. The Thai authorities may fine you if you don’t wear a mask.
Thailand is still operating various disease control measures at national and local levels, including a color rating for each of Thailand’s 76 provinces based on COVID-19 case numbers. Therefore, restrictions may vary depending on the province.
Restrictions may include:
- Closures of shops
- Restrictions on dining in restaurants
- Restrictions on large gatherings
Although hotels and private accommodation are open nationwide, most hotels will request your temperature on arrival and ask for your recent travel history.
For many European and U.S. visitors, traveling to Thailand will feel much more restricted than in the West, which has largely decided to live with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Situation In Thailand
Due to strict COVID-19 rules, Thailand kept the virus out throughout 2020. However, the emergence of more transmissible variants—such as the Delta variant—pierced Thailand’s strict border measures, causing massive waves of COVID-19 throughout 2021.
The current 7-day case average is 19,249. Thailand has recorded 4.13 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, including an unfortunate 27,520 deaths.
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. Strict travel restrictions, however, have prevented millions of tourists—especially U.S. and European tourists—from visiting.
Without testing requirements, traveling to Thailand will feel completely different.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com