Thailand to Resume Quarantine-Free Travel Scheme

Officials say the Test & Go arrangement for fully vaccinated arrivals will be reinstated on February 1.

Wat Mahathat temple in UNESCO-listed Sukhothai Historical Park. (Photo: coward_lion/iStock)

Authorities in Thailand have greenlighted a restart of the country’s quarantine waiver program next month. The decision was made by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Thailand’s national coronavirus task force, after an anticipated surge of deaths and hospitalizations did not come to pass.

At a press briefing on Thursday, CCSA spokesperson Dr. Taweesilp Wisanuyothin said that February 1 would mark the full resumption of the entry scheme. He outlined updated rules for incoming travelers, who must undergo an on-arrival Covid-19 test and another one five days after entering the country. They will be required to self-isolate at a hotel while awaiting their initial test results, and the use of a tracking app will be made mandatory so authorities can make sure overseas arrivals are complying with regulations.

Fears over the fast-spreading Omicron variant led to the Test & Go program’s suspension in late December, barely a month and a half after it was first launched. When it restarts come February, the CCSA will continue to monitor the overall situation; officials have not ruled out the possibility of shutting it down again if infection rates climb and things take a turn for the worse.

Dr. Taweesilp also announced additional locations for the Sandbox program, which allows fully vaccinated visitors to stay for seven days within a designated area before traveling to other parts of the country. Phuket was the launch destination last July, while the nearby provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi — alongside the three islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao — were added last week. The CCSA has now agreed to expand the Sandbox scheme to the beach destinations of Pattaya and Koh Chang.

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