Thailand Tightens Entry Requirements Due to Omicron

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Thailand announced on Friday (7/1) that it is tightening some entry restrictions while expanding its “sandbox” quarantine program. The country also urged people to follow social distancing rules and wear masks to control the spread of COVID-19 triggered by the omicron variant.

The government did not disclose quarantine, however, has issued restrictions on the consumption of alcohol in restaurants. It also asked people to avoid public gatherings, public transport, and travel. Most schools will remain open, while bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

The decision comes after reported daily coronavirus cases doubled to 7,526 a few days after the New Year holiday, largely due to the omicron variant. The government said 19 new deaths were recorded.

Thailand’s COVID-19 Response Center, or CCSA, said the country has suspended its “test and go” program indefinitely, allowing foreign tourists to be quarantined only overnight while awaiting test results. The program will now only be available for tourists entering Thailand by January 15.

A healthcare worker conducts a nose swab during a COVID-19 test on Khaosan road, Bangkok, January 6, 2022.

CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Witsunyothin said anyone arriving in Thailand after January 15 must either undergo hotel quarantine or participate in a “sandbox” program. He said the program will be extended from Phuket island to Pang-nga and Krabi provinces and three islands in Surat Thai province – Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan from next Tuesday.

He said travel restrictions imposed on eight African countries would also be lifted that day.

Under the “Sandbox” program, fully vaccinated people are allowed to enter certain destinations, such as Phuket. They must spend one week in an approved hotel, one test on arrival, and another one a week later. They could move freely, although their movements were tracked.

Bar workers in Bangkok wait for COVID-19 testing before starting their shift, Jan 6, 2022. (Jack TAYLOR/AFP)

Bar workers in Bangkok wait for COVID-19 testing before starting their shift, Jan 6, 2022. (Jack TAYLOR/AFP)

schema “try and go” It allows fully vaccinated people to enter Thailand, but must pass a coronavirus test on arrival and a second test seven days later. If the first test is negative, they can travel freely. They have to spend their first night at a government-approved hotel while waiting for test results.

Thailand has by far the most ambitious program in Southeast Asia that allows travelers to enter and move around the country. Thailand eased restrictions after a successful immunization program that administered 100 million doses to its population of approximately 60 million. program amplifier is currently being done there. [ab/lt]

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