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*This Thailand coronavirus update will post the latest report every week.
*Data lifted from the latest World Meters report and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Surprisingly, Thailand is among the countries with only a handful of coronavirus cases. Over the last few months, the country is only recording less than ten positive cases. It seems that the government was able to gain a foothold of the virus better than most of its neighboring countries. Thailand is one of the top destinations for tourists from Wuhan. Hence, it is pretty surprising to note that authorities did the right thing to screen visitors and set up an emergency operations center early on. With medical experts taking the helm in managing the crisis, the country was able to contain the virus to infect only a few thousand and kill 59 of its citizens. Suffice it to say, Thailand is among the safest countries to visit right now.
Yes, Thailand accepts foreign travellers. Take note, however, that only specific nationalities considered “low risk” will be granted entry. Moreover, visitors must provide proof of their long-term travel plans, including booked hotel accommodations. They should also be able to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their arrival.
Along with this mandate, the Thailand government will launch a new special tourist visa scheme on October 8. This visa will allow non-residents to visit the country freely after completing a 14-day quarantine in a state-approved facility. The special visa is good for 90 days and can be extended twice. Still, visitors are expected to observe travel safety.
The UK government exempts Thailand from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FDCO) advice of barring nonessential travel. This means that UK residents travelling to Thailand will not need to self-isolate when they return to the UK. However, both US and UK residents are still advised to limit their travel to provinces within the Thailand-Malaysia border, including Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Southern Songkhla province (Note: Northern areas such as A43 road and Hat Yai and Sakom are not included. Northwestern areas between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar are exempted as well) due to civil unrest.
Note that while domestic flights in Thailand are opening, it may still be limited. Check accordingly with your travel provider so you can plan your trip. You may also need to check for bus, train, and boat routes as some will still have restrictions, particularly in provincial areas where some authorities may impose stricter measures.
The Thailand government has an emergency decree in place. Make sure to abide by them during your travel. Some of the instructions you need to follow. Foreign travellers must not:
Remember that the Thailand government may impose penalties on foreigners who violate their directives. There have been reports of foreign nationals arrested, fined, and jailed for breaching these protocols.
It is also important for foreign travellers to Thailand to stay abreast of the latest health updates that the Thailand Ministry of Public Health will issue.
Note: The Thai Department of Disease Control considers cigarette smoking risk for coronavirus and has banned smoking in public places. Violators can be fined up to 5,000 Baht.
There is no shortage of hotels and private rental accommodations in Thailand. Don’t discount the fact that some Bangkok hotels may be still be closed. So, it’s best to contact hotels directly when booking accommodations.
As soon as you arrive at the hotel, the staff will ask to take your temperature and require you to complete a health declaration form about your travel history and symptoms related to COVID-19. You also have to expect that some leisure activities may remain suspended.
The majority of the public places in Thailand are now open to visitors. Everyone is expected to practice social distancing. Some shops with confined spaces such as pubs and clubs may still be closed or operate with restrictions. Most restaurants now offer outdoor seating or accept takeout orders.
Thai authorities also request older people above 70 years old and young children less than five years old to stay indoors. Those with comorbidities such as diabetes, lung diseases, and cardiac problems are also encouraged to stay home except to go out for essential purposes, such as buying goods, medicines, going to hospitals, or filing complaints to the police.
Foreign travellers arriving in Thailand should complete a 14-day quarantine. The facility must be approved by the state. Visitors must also be able to undergo a COVID-19 test within three days upon their arrival. Once the 14-day quarantine is over, only then can they explore Thailand for business and leisure. While the economy is slowly opening up, expect some tourist spots to remain close. It is still mandatory to practice health protocols. Keep checking this page for the latest updates on Thailand's health decrees that you need to abide by during your stay in the country.
Some places may have long lines, so please make sure that you maintain proper distancing. Wear masks whenever you need to go out and avoid crowded places. If you need to dine out, choose a restaurant that offers outdoor seating.
Remember, Thailand may have a few number of coronavirus cases, but it does not mean that the virus does not exist in the country. The low number of reported cases may also be due to the limited testing capacity. However, the government is slowly addressing this issue by developing their own test kits.
None yet, but Thailand is well on its way to producing its own COVID-19 vaccine rather than wait for inoculations from abroad. This October, the Thai government is planning to start human trials.
Note: This Thailand coronavirus update was first published in October 2020 and has been updated to include the latest developments.