Chonburi is being upgraded to an “orange” zone, but whether targeted province blue zones such as Pattaya and Sattahip will be allowed to sell alcohol in restaurants is still uncertain, with the decision likely to be left to the provincial governor.
Thailand yesterday made access to the country a little cheaper and easier as the administrative centre for Covid19 containment, the CCSA, continues to relax coronavirus restrictions.
Among other things, the agency lifted the last curfew, eliminated all “dark red” maximum coronavirus and strict control zones, announced the reopening of a key land border and made changes to the “Test & Go” and “sandbox” tourism programs.
However, the CCSA did not agree, as many had hoped, to reopen the nightspots earlier than January 16.
From December 16, Thailand’s “no quarantines” will require more. No longer is it necessary to book one night of quarantine in an expensive, government-certified hotel. But, as usual, the comments the CCSA added to the rule change made the situation so blurry again that there are no strings attached.
Chonburi Province (Pattaya) will be upgraded to Orange Zone from December 1.
The vaccination certificate, insurance and PCR test are still required after December 16, but instead of taking a pointless second PCR test on arrival, tourists can instead take a cheap, rapid, non-invasive antigen test, which the results are available within 15 minutes.
But the Foreign Ministry’s English-speaking spokesman Nopakun Natapanu said the test must be taken at a hotel and “approved transport” booked from the airport.
“You no longer have to book a hotel room first, because the (antigen) test naturally gives a faster result.”
But how it all works is not exactly known yet, so how exactly that will work is uncertain. Which hotels only accept Thais and ex-pats for testing without renting a room? And is proof of “approved carriage” now required in the online buggy Thailand Pass application? When will that change be made? And will more bugs come with the change?
For those not on Thailand’s list of 63 countries approved for the Test & Go scheme, “sandboxing” in the province they have now arrived at will be shorter, just five days instead of seven.
The CCSA also agreed to reopen the Khon Kaen border with Laos, yet another step to reopening the border crossings.
There is more confusion over the list of colour-coded counties that have been rezoned by the CCSA. The designation “dark red” is (for now) a thing of the past and so is the last curfew in the country.
Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani have been redesignated as “blue” pilot tourism areas that tourists can go to immediately upon arrival. To add to the confusion, specific districts in other provinces were also marked “blue”, although the CCSA did not release a list of which districts were correct.
Of particular note is Chonburi, which still reports only a handful of new cases of coronavirus each day. The Banglamung district, which also includes Pattaya, reported 48 new cases on Friday and the province as a whole reported 202.
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