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Thailand suspends non-quarantine entry programmes

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Thailand has suspended non-quarantine entry programmes, now only allowing vaccinated tourists to enter Phuket Sandbox

Thailand has stopped accepting applications for entry into the country under the Test&Go and Sandbox programmes except for the Phuket Sandbox, but will allow entry under already approved permits, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said.

On Tuesday 21 December, following an urgent meeting of the Covid-19 Situation Centre, the Prime Minister said the decision to suspend entry programmes was based on fears over the spread of the omicron variant coronavirus in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported.

The Prime Minister said that so far 200,000 people have applied to enter the country under the Test&Go and Sandbox schemes and 110,000 of them have already arrived in Thailand. The remaining 90,000 who have been approved for entry will also be allowed into the country.

According to the prime minister, the rules may be reviewed after the January 4 holiday. But with the suspension of the Test&Go and Sandbox programmes, the quarantine has been fully reinstated for those arriving in the country. The quarantine period will last for 7 or 10 days depending on the country of origin and vaccination status, Prayut added.

Acceptance of applications for entry into Thailand under the Test&Go and Sandbox programmes, with the exception of Phuket Sandbox, has now been suspended from December 21 to January 4, confirmed Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Kiatiphum Wongrachit. The last group of those granted entry clearance under the Test&Go and Sandbox programmes will arrive in the kingdom on January 10, Dr Kiatiphum added.

The Test&Go entry programme was open to vaccinated visitors from 63 countries, while the Sandbox scheme was open to all visitors from abroad. Visitors arriving under the entry programmes had to be fully vaccinated and have a negative test result for Covid-19 taken shortly before entering the country.

However, the Phuket Sandbox will continue to operate as usual. Those who choose to go into Thailand for quarantine will also be able to enter. Both will need to undergo an additional free PCR test.

Vaccinated travellers arriving under the Phuket Sandbox programme must stay in Phuket province for five days. Entry is also allowed for those who have been sick for three months prior to travel, but with at least one dose of vaccine. Of the Russian preparations, only Sputnik V is currently approved in Thailand.

Unvaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world, as well as vaccinated visitors wishing to travel to any province other than Phuket, must now undergo quarantine.

Thailand has recorded 63 confirmed cases of the omicron variant coronavirus in travellers entering the country. One infection within the Kingdom is also known to have occurred.

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