BANGKOK (AP): Visitors to Thailand who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer need to undergo any test or quarantine on arrival starting May 1, a measure the authorities hope will help rejuvenate the country’s lucrative tourism industry.
“Many countries have already eased their restrictions,” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday. “We are a country that relies on the tourism industry, especially during these times. This will help move the economy forward.”
Under the new rules announced by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, unvaccinated travelers will still have to provide proof of negative results from a RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
All visitors still must register with an online “Thailand Pass” system and provide proof of health insurance with coverage of at least $10,000 for COVID-19 treatment.
Under the current arrival scheme known as “Test and Go,” even fully vaccinated travelers have been required to take RT-PCR tests upon arrival and then stay in a government-approved hotel for one night until the results are known. On the fifth day of their stay. a self-administered rapid antigen test has been required.
The Public Health Ministry on Friday announced 21,808 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 128 related fatalities, bringing the totals since the pandemic began in 2020 to 4,128,038 cases and 27,520 deaths.
The official figures are based on RT-PCR tests, and the new cases do not include 20,635 positive results from antigen tests, which would almost double the number of new cases to 42,443. Many other positive results from self-administered antigen tests may not have been reported to authorities.