Thailand lifts curbs for vaccinated visitors from low-risk nations Nov 1 onward

Hoping to revive its tourism-reliant economy, Thailand will end mandatory quarantine for fully-vaccinated tourists travelling by air from countries deemed ‘low risk’ from November 1, news agency AFP quoted Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha as saying on Monday. In a televised address, Prayut said the coronavirus quarantine requirement will end for at least 10 countries including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States.

“When they arrive, they should present a (negative) Covid test… and test once again upon arrival,” AFP further quoted the prime minister as saying.

After getting a negative test, “they can travel freely like Thais,” he said.

Currently, vaccinated tourists need to undergo at least seven days of quarantine in a hotel after their arrival in Thailand. Thailand also has a so-called “sandbox” scheme which allows vaccinated tourists to move freely around Phuket for a fortnight and afterwards travel to the mainland without quarantine.

There is a curfew in place in Bangkok and other areas from 10pm. to 4am. to check a third wave of the coronavirus that began in April this year.

Prayut said visitors outside of Thailand’s designated 10 low-risk countries are welcome, “but they have to be in quarantine”, he added. He said more nations would be added to the ‘green list’ in December.

Acknowledging that his decision can lead to a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, Prayut said people will not be able to stand it if they lose a second chance at this business opportunity.

Around 40 million tourists visited Thailand every year before the pandemic, with tourism making up almost 20 percent of its national income. However, Covid-related restrictions left the economy battered. Today’s announcement comes as a relief for people in the tourism sector who have suffered losses in their businesses during the ongoing pandemic.

Last year, Thailand suffered losses of about $50 billion in tourism revenue as foreign arrivals plunged 83 percent to 6.7 million, from a record 39.9 million two years ago.

Currently, the Southeast Asian kingdom has more than 1.7 million cases, and has recorded 17,751 deaths related to Covid-19 infection.

Thailand lifts curbs for vaccinated visitors from low-risk nations Nov 1 onward

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