• Calls to allow vaccinated foreigners in without quarantine

    The leaders of five key groups from Thailand’s tourism industry have called on the government to approve plans that would allow any foreigner vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Thailand without restrictions.

    While Thailand is open to foreign tourists, any foreigner visiting the country is required to undergo mandatory 14 day quarantine at their own expense.

    Allowing vaccinated foreigners to visit Thailand without the undergoing quarantine would help to mitigate some of the effects the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the country’s now decimated tourism industry, the group said.

    Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, was due to present the proposal for Cabinet approval on Tuesday, Siam Rath reported.

    Mr Pipat added that the Ministry of Public Health would also be required to decide on the matter.

    The proposal is one of a number of measures put forward by the group, which is made up of operators including the Tourist Police, Thai Hotel Association and the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

    Some of the other proposals include soft loans and reduction in rates, such as electricity bills, for hotels and tourism businesses.

    More details were also put  forward regarding the so-called ‘golf quarantine’ which would allow tourists to stay at a resort and play golf, rather than being confined to their rooms.

    Follow us on Facebook here

    Follow us on Twitter here

  • Foreigners who have been vaccinated still need to quarantine

    The Public Health Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying all arrivals to Thailand will have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine even if they have been vaccinated.

    Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said the Covid-19 vaccines are still new and their effectiveness have still not been determined. He added that it still too early to say whether an inoculated person can be considered safe enough to travel.

    Hence, he said, before there are clear answers on the vaccine, it will still be necessary for people arriving from overseas to observe quarantine measures.


    Follow us on Facebook here

    Follow us on Twitter here

  • No 14-day quarantine for visitors returning from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai

    Tourists would not have to undergo 14 days quarantine after returning from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, clarified on Friday.

    He made the remark in response to a question about some companies stating that tourists who have returned from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai must undergo self-isolation for 14 days.

    “These companies made announcements in response to the discovery of new coronavirus cases, but we have not concluded on whether tourists must undergo 14 days quarantine or not,” he said.

    “However, people who are travelling in these provinces must take care of themselves, such as by wearing a face mask and washing hands regularly,” he said.

    As of Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand had risen to 4,192 (1,204 in state quarantine), 217 are in hospital, 3,915 have recovered and been discharged, while 60 have died.


    Follow us on Facebook here

    Follow us on Twitter here

  • Quarantine in Thailand: The good, the bad and the boring

    Two weeks in a five-star boutique hotel in Pattaya might not sound too bad, except when you can’t go outside or interact with anyone other than your health workers. Emmy Sasipornkarn reports from quarantine in Thailand.

    At eight in the morning, the doorbell rings and a familiar voice announces that my breakfast is ready. Like every morning in the past nine days, I open the door to find no one in sight — just a plastic container of food on a small table.

    The same contact-free procedure is repeated for lunch at 12 p.m. and dinner at 5 p.m. This is a “normal” day in the life of Thailand’s state-sponsored  14-day coronavirus quarantine, compulsory upon entering from Germany.

    Trying to go home

    A few weeks ago, I — like many other Thai nationals in Germany — was looking forward to finally returning home. But first I had to register with the Thai Embassy due to the pandemic.

    When my Thai Airways flights were cancelled for the second time in mid-September, I decided to register for a chartered repatriation flight. I waited anxiously for weeks for a response from the Thai Consulate in Frankfurt.

    Thailand gave priority to travelers with urgent needs to fly to the Southeast Asian country. Longing to see family and friends after nearly two years abroad was not considered a priority by the Thai government — no matter what my mother might think.

    Fortunately, on November 1, Thailand decided both Thai and non-Thai nationals could register online for Certificate of Entry (COE). I rushed to book a spot on a chartered plane.

    Only 200 passengers per flight – and only Thai nationals – are allowed to undergo state-sponsored quarantine free of charge.

    The other option would have been to fly back with a different airline and pay for an alternative quarantine privately – the cheapest government-approved accommodation being €1,000.

    Thai nationals, interestingly, are not required to show a negative coronavirus test upon arrival.

    Thai Airways almost empty
    Only 200 Thai nationals are allowed per state-sponsored flight back to Thailand

    Frankfurt to Bangkok

    Arriving at Frankfurt Airport on the long-awaited day of my flight, the once-bustling international air travel hub was almost empty and it only took 15 minutes to pass through customs.

    My journey back home with Thai Airways amid a global pandemic was a strangely enjoyable but simultaneously sobering experience. Some seats were empty and passengers were not allowed to roam around freely except to visit the lavatories.

    The cabin crew had swapped their iconic purple uniforms for full body Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In fact, since boarding the plane in Germany, I have only come into contact with a handful of people not covered head to toe in PPE.

    Upon landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, all passengers had their temperatures measured.

    All of our luggage was sprayed with disinfectant before it was loaded onto the fleet of buses.

    Before the pandemic, Suvarnabhumi was one of Asia’s main travel hubs. Now, it seems the once bustling airport is a thing of the past.

    Hotel room in Pattaya 5-star
    The quarantine room has everything what a five-star hotel would normally offer, without the room service

    Pattaya: Unrecognizable ghost town

    Where you end up in quarantine in Thailand is like playing roulette.

    Nobody had any idea which city we would end up until we had actually landed at Suvarnabhumi. But I was lucky – I ended up in a boutique five-star hotel in Pattaya, a coastal resort city about two hours’ drive south of Bangkok. The only catch – I am not allowed to leave the room.

    En-route to Pattaya, I saw nothing but mostly empty streets and closed bars in the normally buzzing town famous for its nightlife which draws millions of tourists each year. Thailand closed its borders in March.

    I knew that the pandemic had severely battered my country’s once-prosperous tourism industry, but seeing the hedonistic getaway of Pattaya deserted with my own eyes, really drove home the reality of life in post-COVID Thailand.

    Daily life in quarantine

    Upon arrival at the hotel, staff dressed in PPE greeted us with a pump of alcoholic gel, asked us routine health questions and once more controlled our body temperatures.

    Pattaya beach, almost empty
    The coastal city of Pattaya is almost a ghost town during the pandemic

    I was then quickly assigned an ID card and a room, along with a handout of the hotel’s quarantine rules, and a dinner in a sealed plastic bag — the first of many such “COVID-safe” meals. Bringing in any cooked food outside from the hotel is strictly forbidden.

    The room is modern, spacious and equipped with the usual amenities one might expect from a five-star hotel: large flat-screen TV, shower with rainfall showerhead and a separate bathtub, two comfortable beds with crisp white linen, full wall-length windows and of course, face masks, alcohol gel and a thermometer.

    Every morning, we must check our body temperature everyday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. then send the information via a messenger app.

    There is no housekeeping service during coronavirus times. I must use a small plastic bowl as a wash basin.

    The only times I am allowed to leave is when someone calls me to go downstairs for swab tests. I took my first swab test on day three and the result came back negative. Now, I have just five days left in quarantine and one more test to go. Here’s hoping to another negative test so that at last, I can see my family again when they drive down from Bangkok and take me back home.


Back to top button