In April, Thailand executes its lesser mandatory quarantine period for foreigners visiting the country.
Reducing the isolation period is a crucial step for the recovery of the economy. Thailand will use its soil as a testing ground for every tourism-dependent country around the globe. Thailand will be the first country in the region to shorten the compulsory isolation period. In many parts of the world, the mandatory quarantine period is 14 days.
The Thai government didn’t release any official written announcement nor any scientific/medical basis in coming up with this decision. Nonetheless, based on the information given by the trusted government agencies, here are 5 FAQs you must know about Thailand's lesser quarantine period.
What will change from April?
According to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, Thais and others arriving from abroad will have to quarantine themselves for 10 days.
Travelers must get 2 PCR tests: One between the 3rd and 5th day after arrival, and another on the 9th and 10th day.
People are allowed to roam around within the facilities of where they’re staying while in isolation. They can use fitness centers, swimming pools, and can make purchases within the hotel’s kiosks.
Moreover, after seven days of self-isolation, people who have been vaccinated can go visit the 6 popular areas of Thailand– The provinces of Phuket, Krabi, Pang-nga, Samui, Chonburi, and Chiangmai.
Lastly, those arriving from countries with an epidemic of mutated coronavirus must still isolate for 2 weeks.
How does Thailand plan to proceed on further easing?
Have you ever heard of the sandbox experiment? Thai government plans to conduct a sandbox experiment starting July 1. From July 1st until September 30th, vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit Phuket without any quarantine period under what is called the “Phuket Sandbox” program. Visitors will be required to stay in Phuket for at least 7 days, after which they are free to travel.
For the "sandbox" experiment to begin, Phuket must achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of the population, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn.
What other measures has Thailand adopted to attract visitors?
Thailand has introduced some unique alternatives to spend 14 days in isolation after arriving from abroad. Last January, the government came up with the idea of “golf quarantine”. Golfers from South Korea and Japan spend their first 2 weeks in Thailand at a golf resort. Visitors must stay in their room for the first 3 days but later are allowed to go out and play if their PCR test comes out negative.
Last March 10, the Tourism Authority of Thailand announced another option, “Digital Yacht Quarantine,” at Phuket island. The project allows boat owners and others on board to complete their 14-day quarantine on the boat. A PCR test must be arranged upon arrival. A smartwatch will be given to the visitors in which they must wear at all times during the quarantine. After the data acquired over the period of 14 days, visitors can go ashore in Phuket.
Why is it so important for Thailand to open up its borders as soon as possible?
Welcoming tourist is the catalyst in reviving the Thai economy, as tourism accounts for roughly 20% of the total gross domestic product. The economy recorded a 6.1 % contraction in 2020 because service exports – which include spending by tourists – plunged 60% compared to 2019.
How is the Covid-19 situation in Thailand?
The Covid-19 situation in Thailand appears to be under control, as the revival that emerges in December up to now has gradually wound down.
Other southeast Asian countries reported more cases than Thailand. Considering the population and the size of its economy, it is safe to say that Thailand has dealt with the pandemic better than most.