Thailand will no longer require quarantines for visitors from 10 low-risk countries starting November 1st, as the country is gradually reopening to overseas visitors, a delay from the initial complete reopening deadline of October 15th, announced Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a televised address tonight (Monday).
Among the list is the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Germany and Singapore. The full list of the 10 countries will be decided at a Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting on Thursday. Apart from showing proof of being fully vaccinated, the arrivals must also show negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test results before their travel and undergo another test once arrived to Thailand.
On June 16th, Gen. Prayut declared Thailand will completely reopen in 120 days. The date is soon approaching, and it is clear now that the deadline will not be met.
Describing the move as a “small but important” step, the prime minister said more countries will be added in December and January. For countries which are not considered as low risk, the prime minister said that Thailand also welcomes their citizens, but they will be subject to quarantine and have to comply with some restrictions, which are yet to be announced.
Starting on December 1st, he said that alcoholic drinks may be served again in eateries and entertainment venues, which will be able to resume operations under appropriate official guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Now we know that this virus can shock the world more than once, we must be ready to cope with it as and when it re-emerges,” said the prime minister.
The prime minister admitted that the decision to reopen the country is risky and that the easing of restrictions may trigger a rise in COVID-19 infections, but only temporarily.
“We have to monitor the situation closely and assess how we will cope with the situation, but we cannot allow this opportunity to pass us by because, if we miss this golden moment to generate revenue for the second year in a row, I think the people will not be able to take it anymore,” said the prime minister.
Even if a new variant of COVID-19 emerges in the next 3-4 months, he said that Thailand must be ready to deal with it.
Referring to the situation when Thailand was first hit by COVID-19 pandemic early last year, the prime minister admitted that he was faced with a very difficult decision, whether to save lives or to protect people’s incomes, because they are inseparable.
Having to make a make quick decision, which could not be delayed, the prime minister said he decided to save lives, as recommended by doctors and health experts.
“Today, Thailand is among the countries which have achieved great success in protecting its people,” said the prime minister, as he praised the sacrifices made by everyone at a most difficult time, with many people losing their jobs, incomes and businesses.
With the long Christmas and New Year holiday season just around the corner in many parts of the world, the prime minister stressed that it is a good opportunity to reopen and welcome foreign tourists looking for a holiday destination, to boost the struggling tourism industry.