Thailand SLASHES its mandatory quarantine for vaccinated tourists to 7 days

Thailand SLASHES its mandatory quarantine for vaccinated tourists to 7 days

In a bid to revive its tourism industry, Thailand has announced it is slashing its mandatory Covid quarantine period for foreigners who can show proof of vaccination from 14 to seven days.

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday that the new rules will begin in April. Tourists who haven’t had a Covid vaccine, and test negative for the virus will now face just 10 days of quarantine, he added.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha hinted that his government might look at relaxing the quarantine rules and adopting a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ scheme to allow more visitors to enter.

Travel restrictions for foreigners were eased in December. Travelers from more than 50 countries are currently allowed to enter Thailand without a visa if they can provide proof they are Covid-free and agree to undergo three coronavirus tests during a mandatory two-week quarantine period.

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Thailand relies heavily on its tourism industry, and the government is eager to get it up and running again. In 2019, some 40 million tourists visited the Southeast Asian nation, bringing it a revenue of $60 billion. In 2020, just 6.5 million foreigners came, and half a million of those were stranded there when Thailand imposed a lockdown in March.

The country is in the process of introducing a $10 tax on tourists. The tax will help pay for insurance costs, the upkeep of tourist attractions, and the recovery of some of Thailand’s financial losses.

So far, the nation of 70 million people has registered about 26,500 Covid cases and 85 deaths. 

The government plans to vaccinate half its citizens by the end of year, having ordered 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A local company, Siam Bioscience, which is owned by the reigning monarch, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has been licensed to produce some of those vaccines.

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