Thailand’s COVID-19 task force has approved the reinstatement of the quarantine-free Test & Go entry program for fully-vaccinated inbound visitors from next month, with new arrivals and entry clearance applications to be accepted from 1 February.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today approved the reinstatement of the Test & Go entry scheme for international visitors, according to CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin. He said travellers applying for Test & Go entry clearance must pre-pay for their hotel rooms which shall include two RT-PCR tests.
Test & Go was previously suspended after seven weeks in use due to fears regarding the high spread of the Omnicron variant, and doubts on whether the current vaccines were effective against it. The new policy will require those entering the country to submit to tests on Day 1 and Day 5 after arrival, whilst also agreeing to have their whereabouts tracked. Authorities will be working to improve the tracking system to ensure all visitors comply with the second post-arrival test requirement, with the Mor Chana contact tracing application now required to be installed on their phones.
It is also noted that on Day 5, they will need to isolate at a pre-approved hotel according to SHA ++/AQQ/ AHQ while waiting for their test results. These pre-approved hotels must have a partner hospital, but can be a different hotel to the hotel used for day 1 tests. The government has emphasised that as well as downloading a tracking app they must also wait until their results are received.
In order to travel the following should be prepared; proof of hotel booking for Day 1 and Day 5 (The hotels can be different hotels but must provide an accommodation service in partnership with certified hospitals for the RT-PCR test according to SHA ++/AQQ/ AHQ), a Confirmed Payment for SHA++ Hotel and pre-payment of 2 RT-PCR tests, a Certificate of Vaccination / Vaccine passport
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said the infections in Thailand are considered to be at a manageable level, and expected to be stabilising and going into a declining trend.
The move came amid the government’s efforts to revive the tourism sector and boost economic recovery as tourism which accounts for a significant part of the country’s GDP, has taken a 2 year nose dive, resulting in widespread economic pain and challenges especially in the tourism sector.
From the meeting today, the CCSA extended the validity of the Emergency Decree for another two months, now through 31 March. The color-coded provincial alert levels have also been adjusted, with the orange control areas now reduced to 44 provinces from 69 provinces, while the yellow alert level is applicable to 25 provinces. Effective from 24 January, more relaxed restrictions will be applied in yellow zones, with restaurants certified with either the SHA Plus or the Thai Stop Covid 2 Plus standard allowed to sell alcohol. Restaurants in the blue special tourism areas will be able to sell alcohol until 11 pm from the current 9 pm deadline.
More tourism areas will be introduced as Sandbox areas namely Bang Lamung district of Pattaya; Si Racha, Ko Sichang, and Sattahip districts of Chon Buri; as well as Ko Chang in Trat. Visitors arriving in the Sandbox areas will be required to take RT-PCR tests on day 1 and day 5 or 6 after arrival. They will stay within the Sandbox areas for 7 days.