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Cabinet Overturns CCSA Vote to Switch to Antigen Tests for Arriving Tourists

Thailand Covid-19 Coroanvirus Test Testing Tourists

The on-arrival RT-PCR Covid test requirement for international travelers entering Thailand via the deceptively named Test & Go pathway will remain in place due to the emergence of the coronavirus omicron variant, the Cabinet decided Tuesday.

The much maligned requirement for the slow-processing, invasive test – which would come about 72 hours after a pre-arrival RT-PCR test – was scheduled to be lifted on Dec. 16 and replaced with a faster, non-invasive antigen test.

Whether PCR tests can detect the virus remains an open question, however.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s approval of the relaxed testing requirement was overturned by the Cabinet at its weekly meeting.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said that the Cabinet resolved to keep current disease-screening practices in place due to the incomplete information available on the new variant.

He also expressed confidence that if found, cases of Omicron variants will be traceable.

The minister said he was concerned over illegal entries at borders, as infections carried into Thailand through this channel will be difficult to trace. He added that the prime minister has told responsible agencies to stringently tighten border security, and has threatened punishment for security lapses.

Asked whether the opening date for entertainment venues – currently set for mid-January – would need to be postponed, Sathit said domestic Covid measures remain unchanged as there is yet to be information pointing to the Omicron variant being present in Thailand.