Having all but officially postponed the reopening of five provinces by a month, Thailand instead is looking to shorten the quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers arriving before then.
The National Communicable Disease Committee proposed on Thursday that the mandatory 14-day quarantine be shortened to as little as seven days.
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said the committee resolved that the quarantine reduction be applied to visitors from any country. However, travelers without a recognized vaccine certificate would have to stay in isolation for 10 days.
Those arriving via a land border with no vaccine card would still be required to do 14 days in quarantine, Opas said.
Seven-day-long quarantine will apply to the visitors who have certificates of their reception of two Covid-19 vaccine doses (or 1 for the Johnson & Johnson jab). They will have to have two RT-PCR tests, first when they arrive and then seven days afterward.
Quarantine will be 10 days for the visitors by air who do not have a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. They will be tested for the coronaivurs on day they arrive and day 10 after arrival.
However, the 14-day quarantine will continue for arrivals by land – including those caught sneaking in – and those who have not been fully vaccinated. They will undergo two RT-PCR tests on Day 0 and Day 14 after arrival.
The shorter quarantine periods will be considered Monday by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, which, the same day, is expected to confirm that the earliest Bangkok, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Kan and Phetchaburi can reopen to fully vaccinated foreign travelers without quarantine will be Nov. 1.
The litmus test for all those provinces will be whether 70 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Opas said the move to shorten quarantine – something that was originally planned for the Phuket “sandbox” but was changed at the last minute and never altered – is intended to give the moribund tourism industry a lift.
Of course, reopening the country to vaccinated foreigners – only 0.28 percent of which have tested positive for Covid-19 in Phuket since July 1 – would have been a much biggest boost.
But the thinking went if quarantine-free reopenings can’t happen until November, at least those who do arrive can spend less time locked up.