Thailand Increases Visitor Quarantine Period as Covid Rages

Thailand will increase a mandatory quarantine period for all arrivals to two weeks in a setback to the country’s previous plans of gradually reopening its borders to foreign visitors.

The Southeast Asian nation earlier this month reduced the timeframe to seven days for vaccinated tourists and ten days for most others in a bid to boost its tourism sector. But the latest Covid-19 wave, the country’s worst since the pandemic began, has forced the government to reintroduce the restrictions.

All visitors who receive entry permits starting May 1 will be required to undergo the longer isolation, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced after a meeting headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha. A mask mandate, a ban on large gatherings and a shutdown of bars will also be enforced nationwide, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the panel, said Thursday.

Thailand Increases Visitor Quarantine Period as Covid Rages

Thailand has seen total Covid-19 cases more than double since the beginning of April, with the flareup tied to entertainment venues in Bangkok that has since spread to most of the nation’s 77 provinces. The panel deemed Bangkok and five other provinces at “highest risk” for infections, imposed a ban on dine-in services and added travel restrictions to and from those “hot” regions starting Saturday.

The Finance Ministry on Thursday cut its economic growth forecast to 2.3% for this year, citing the current outbreak and the latest downward revision of international visitors to just 2 million this year, down from an estimate of 5 million. The tourism sector contributed about a fifth of Thailand’s gross domestic product in 2019.

The government has insisted that its plan to reopen Phuket to vaccinated visitors in July is still on track despite the outbreak. It’s currently negotiating with a variety of pharma manufacturers to secure more vaccines, with a target of administering 100 million doses by the end of this year.

Some other notable details on the country’s vaccine plan from the briefing include:

  • Thailand is expected to have about 1,000 vaccination sites nationwide, administering 15-30 million doses per month.
  • All target residents in Bangkok, the country’s largest city, are expected to have first shots by August.
  • The country has confirmed orders of 63 million doses, and will need 37 million more.
  • The government is currently looking at several options for additional doses:
    • 5-20 million doses from Pfizer
    • 5-10 million from Sputnik V
    • 5-10 million from Johnson & Johnson
    • 5-10 million from Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
    • More doses from Moderna Inc., Sinopharm, or Bharat Biotech

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