Thailand to restart quarantine waiver scheme next month

Thailand will resume its quarantine-free travel programme for vaccinated foreigners starting February 1, the country’s Covid-19 taskforce said on Thursday (January 20).

The announcement comes about a month after Thailand suspended its Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme on December 22 in response to a surge of the Omicron variant. The move meant arrivals to the country had to undergo hotel quarantine, ranging from seven to 10 days.

Thailand expects to welcome five million foreign tourists this year; passengers at Suvarnabhumi Airport pictured 

New entry rules will be introduced under the revived scheme, with inbound travellers now required to take a Covid-19 test on the first and fifth day of arrival, spokesperson Taweesin Wisanuyothin was quoted by Channel NewsAsia as saying during a briefing.

Visitors will have to isolate at a hotel while waiting for their test results and will be required to download a tracking app to ensure they comply with the rules.

The government also announced additional destinations to the sandbox programme which was launched last year to revive the country’s battered tourism sector. Under the programme, vaccinated visitors must stay for one week at a designated location before being allowed to travel on to the rest of the country.

An estimated five million foreign tourists are expected to visit Thailand in 2022, according to the tourism ministry’s forecast – down from nearly 40 million a year before the pandemic.

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