Throughout the pandemic, Thailand has been seen as a refuge for many American and international travelers. With cases numbers that are just a fraction of the likes of those seen in other large countries, Thailand was a place that, although it required hoops to be jumped through prior to arrival, allowed travelers to put the pandemic to the back of their minds and enjoy a much-needed vacation. However, a recent flare-up of cases of Covid-19 has sent the country into a panic, closing several industries and attractions at the busiest time of the year. Here’s all you need to know about the situation.
Thailand’s Latest Wave – Information For Travelers
Thailand’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic – shutting down borders quickly and imposing a strict quarantine for international arrivals – made it the envy of much of the world in 2020, with the country registering barely a few thousand cases, and with deaths below the 100 figure. Despite the impact on local businesses and shops in the country, it was singled out by the WHO with regards to how well it had kept a lid on the spread of the virus.
However, the past week or so has caused concern amongst those living in the country. Thailand hit its record number of daily cases yesterday, as 985 test results came back positive, some of which were attributed to the deadlier, more-transmissible UK variant of the virus that caused countries around the world to take action at the turn of the year.
Typical with the country’s handling of the pandemic as a whole, the response from those in charge was swift. The government-mandated that celebrations of the country’s Songkran festival, Thailand’s traditional new year celebration that usually include the splashing of water, would be dry affairs for the second year running. More than 40 provinces also closed pubs, nightclubs and bars, as the recent wave deemed to have spread rapidly in such establishments, before being transmitted to other popular provinces such as Chiang Mai and Phuket.
Whilst there is no official lockdown in place as of yet, several provinces have imposed restrictions for arrivals from high-risk locations. The exact specifications of the restrictions vary from province to province, with the most severe including quarantine for those who visited establishments where clusters of positive were detected.
The recent wave of cases has prompted the US embassy in Bangkok to issue a health alert for those in the country. The alert tells of the new restrictions put into place by various provinces, and warns that new restrictions may be implemented with little or no warning, which may make inter-provincial travel difficult. The alert also advised those in the country to research travel restrictions before making any trips.
Thailand has recently started its vaccination campaign, but there have been concerns about the speed at which the vaccine has been rolled out. At present, more than half a million people have received the first dose of the vaccine in the country, with 73,000 having received both doses.
The third wave of Covid-19 isn’t the only health concern plaguing Thailand at present. The country is in the midst of its “7 Deadly Days”, a period that sees several road traffic accidents as people travel for the new year celebrations. More than one thousand accidents have been reported in the past three days, resulting in more than 100 deaths.
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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