Thailand reintroduces Covid-19 restrictions from today

Vaccination & proof of recovery mandatory
/ New Delhi
Thailand reintroduces Covid-19
Thailand reintroduces Covid-19 restrictions from today

Thailand joins list of nations that have reintroduced travel restrictions on passengers

Thailand has reintroduced some of its travel restrictions linked to Covid-19, in view of the reopening of international borders in China. New rules come into effect from today.
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In a surprise move, Thailand joins the list of countries that have reintroduced Covid-19 travel restrictions in view of the opening up of travel from and to China and the sharp upsurge reported in cases in China.

With effect from Monday, January 9, Thailand has reintstated some entry requirements. The latest guidelines issued by the country states that all incoming airline passengers aged 18 and older will need to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or, alternatively, were infected and recovered within the previous six months or 180 days. In the case of the latter, travellers will need to produce a letter from their doctor to that effect.

The new rules mark a step backward in the evolution of Thailand’s Covid-related border policies, having just released new updates to its travel restrictions on inbound international visitors.

The new guidelines also state that foreign nationals visiting from countries whose requirements might prevent their re-entry if they test positive will also need to produce proof of a travel health insurance policy with coverage enough for at least USD 10,000 of Covid-19 treatment during their planned stay, plus an additional seven days spent in Thailand. It has also released a list of preferred insurance providers.

Incidentally, health insurance is also mandatory for passengers who will be travelling onward from Thailand to another country where an RT-PCR or ATK (rapid antigen) test is required for entry.

Transfer and transit passengers, and those who hold a Thai passport, are exempted from the renewed vaccination and insurance requirements.

The new rules state that airlines will be responsible for ensuring that travellers produce the proper documentation before boarding flights to Thailand. If a passenger cannot provide proof of vaccination, the rules state that they will be subject to testing at the port of arrival.

With these rules back in force, Thailand joins list of nations that have reintroduced travel restrictions on passengers, notably those from China. These restrictions have been criticised sharply by airlines, airport operators and tourism organisations as knee-jerk reactions and that the measures in place have already proven to be completely ineffective and counterproductive in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Last week, ACI International World and IATA had released press statements sharply regretting the moves by the United States, India, European Union and other nations in reintroduction of these norms.

For Thailand, too, it marks a sharp reversal of policy as after suffering the strain on its tourism-reliant economy for two-and-a-half years, the ‘Land of Smiles’ had dropped the last of its pandemic-related travel restrictions in October, doing away with proof of Covid-19 vaccination or negative tests from foreign arrivals.

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