Thailand Tightens Travel Restrictions as Omicron Spreads

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Thailand Tightens Travel Restrictions as Omicron Spreads

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Thailand has made announcements in early January indicating harsher entry restrictions and an expansion on its quarantine program.

Official sources have advised people to adopt mask rules and social distancing for months. This seems to be more necessary than ever with the spread of COVID-19’s omicron variant.

With that, Thailand’s government didn’t fully crackdown on mobility with omicron’s spread. Instead, it began by issuing harsher restrictions on alcohol consumption in restaurants.

The government called the public to avoid gatherings, country-wide travel, and public transport. Most schools will continue to be open, as nightclubs and bars stay closed.

When Did the Restrictions Increase?

Most occurred after the New Year’s holiday, with daily COVID cases doubling to over 7500 in just a few days.

Omicron has been blamed as the biggest culprit. 19 deaths have been recorded since then, according to government sources.

The CCSA (Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration) indicated an indefinite suspension of Thailand’s “test and go” system.

Under it, an international tourist only required a single night of quarantine as they awaited tests results, and those approved are barred entry before 15th January.

The CCSA has also stated that those entering Thailand must either follow the “sandbox program,” or quarantine in a hotel.

The program was set to be extended for certain parts of Thailand, mainly the provinces Krabi and Pang-Nga, Phuket, and islands Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui.

How Does the Sandbox Program Work?

Under it, a fully vaccinated individual is allowed entry to certain locations, Phuket being an example.

The individual is required to quarantine for a week in a certified hotel, then take a test upon arrival, followed by another the next week.

Also, while the individual’s movement is tracked, they are allowed free mobility.

Alternatively, the “test and go” program allowed a fully vaccinated individual access to Thailand. Yet, they were subject to coronavirus testing upon arrival, followed by another test within a week.

If their first test came up negative, they were allowed free travel. Also, the applicant had to spend their 1st night in a government-certified hotel as they awaited test results.

Programs aside, Thailand’s restrictions do allow a high level of mobility and seem to welcome travelers entering and moving around more than other neighboring countries.

This comes after a successful vaccine program, where 100 million doses were given to its 60 million population. With that, booster programs are currently underway in Thailand.

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