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Thailand May Halve 14-Day Coronavirus Quarantine

Passengers go through coronavirus checks and processing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.
Passengers go through coronavirus checks and processing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok.

Thailand could halve its 14-day quarantine for foreign tourists starting in November to entice wealthy travelers to utilize the country’s new long-stay visa.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry said Friday that cutting mandatory “alternative state quarantine” to a week could happen if the first batch of visitors arriving by private jet or charter flight on the Special Tourist Visa doesn’t lead to a large number of imported cases.

After next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the government will announce more details of the special tourist visa (STV) that will allow long-stay visitors, the first international arrivals in almost six months, to enter the country by Oct 1, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Thailand reported 3 new coronavirus cases on Friday, all from travelers returned from overseas, with no change in the death toll. Total cases are 3,519 with 59 deaths.

A Tourism Ministry spokesman said if the two groups of 300 foreigners complete their 14-day quarantine on Oct. 15 and Oct. 21 without a positive case, then the ministry plans to propose an increase in the number of tourists per week by Nov. 1.

Tourists will still have to complete two swab tests, a strip test and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

The World Health Organization has standardized Covid-19 quarantine at 14 days and some government public-health officials as well as outside virologists have opined that even two weeks is not enough.

A look through the daily coronavirus reports from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration shows a significant percent of positive cases are not found until well into the second week of quarantine.