According to CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved the proposal to cancel Thailand RT-PCR test requirements for all international arrivals, effective April 1st, and has agreed to allow some celebrations during the Songkran festival in mid-April.
Although the CCSA agreed to prolong the enforcement of the emergency situation notification for the 17th time, from April 1st to May 31st, the action is part of a gradual lifting of restrictions in a bid to revitalize the country’s critical tourist sector.
Under the “Test and Go” initiative, the CCSA has decided to eliminate the obligation for all travelers to Thailand to perform an RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to their departure, whether by land, air, or sea. They must still take the test when they arrive and self-administer an antigen test on the fifth day of their stay.
Despite calls for a decrease, however, the minimum needed amount of travel insurance coverage for international visitors arriving in Thailand remains US$20,000.
More entry points for foreign arrivals will be established beginning April 1st at the land border crossing in Satun province, the sea port in Surat Thani province for Thai registered ships and personnel, and the airports in Hat Yai, Krabi, and Surat Thani.
The CCSA has also amended COVID-19 zoning, which began in April, so that some limitations may be lifted further. The regulated area (orange) zone, in which selling alcohol in restaurants is still illegal, will now include just 20 provinces, down from 44.
Phetchaburi and Chiang Mai will join the “sandbox” tourism zones, increasing the total to ten provinces. Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Chon Buri, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Phang-nga, and Phuket are the other “sandbox” provinces.
Under the COVID Free Setting rules, all entertainment venues would remain closed, according to Dr. Taweesin, who urged their owners to transform them into restaurants.
Songkran Celebration Allowed
While some Songkran events, like as traditional water splashing, processions, concerts, and other activities, are permitted, pre-approval from authorities for leisure – related activities is required, according to the CCSA spokesperson.
The COVID Free Setting measures must be followed by the organizers of activities like as concerts and gatherings. Preventive measures must be followed and community leaders must be alerted for events in communities and in places of worship, according to Dr. Taweesin. Prior approval is not necessary.
Traditional practices, such as pouring water over the hands of elders, are permitted, but foam parties, powder painting, and the sale of alcoholic beverages on celebration grounds are forbidden.
According to Dr. Taweesin, the celebration grounds must have obvious departure and admission points, where participants will be vetted before entry, and the number of participants must be limited to avoid congestion.
Furthermore, the CCSA has approved the Ministry of Public Health’s COVID-19 management plan, which calls for coronavirus to be reclassified as an endemic illness over time.
If everything proceeds as planned, but with complete participation from the general public, the infection rate is likely to fall by July, as predicted by the Public Health Ministry.
Dropping of Thailand RT-PCR test requirements to revive tourism industry
Thailand is eager to resurrect its valuable tourist industry, which has taken a hit since most international visitors have ceased since April 2020.
Cambodia, whose tourism economy has suffered similarly, stated Thursday that fully vaccinated travellers are no longer needed to obtain an RT-PCR test before arrival. It also eliminated the requirement for an immediate antigen test upon arrival.
This year, Thai health officials are dealing with a record number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths.
More than 50,000 new cases were reported on Friday, with slightly more than half confirmed by RT-PCR testing and the rest by fast antigen tests. There were also 80 additional fatalities.
Thailand has had roughly 3.3 million cases reported and 24,075 deaths since the pandemic began in 2020.
The health authorities are worried about the virus’s potential spread next month during Songkran festival, a boisterous celebration that celebrates the Thai New Year.
They have restricted the usual spraying of water in the streets and other public locations, as well as the sale and consumption of alcohol at public gatherings.
The holiday’s widespread migration from cities to home villages in rural regions is a serious concern. Last year, when most Thais had not yet been vaccinated, the practice was a major issue.
Thailand has rolled out 126 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. At least 54.6 million people, or more than 78 percent of the population, have had at least one vaccination. Fifty million individuals have gotten at least two vaccinations, with an additional 22 million receiving booster doses.