Starting next month, Thailand will reopen its borders to international travellers, allowing fully vaccinated tourists to travel freely and without quarantine throughout the Kingdom. The news brings an end to Thailand’s period of Covid closure – travel restrictions that have lasted, in one form or another, for around 18 months.
The news was confirmed on Monday night (11/10) by Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, when he addressed the nation via televised broadcast. During this speech, he instructed the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Public Health Ministry to reopen all of Thailand to vaccinated tourists, starting from the beginning of next month.
“I would like to announce the first small but important step in decisively beginning the process of trying to restore our livelihoods,” said the Prime Minister in his statement. According to the PM, Thailand will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated tourists from ‘safe countries’, starting from 1 November 2021. Provided they can prove they have been fully vaccinated, these travellers will not need to go through quarantine upon arrival.
In addition to vaccine certificates, new arrivals will need to present negative results of a recent RT-PCR, test taken just prior to departure; and then pass another test when they arrive in Thailand. Once these tests have been cleared, the tourists will be free to visit any part of Thailand. The full list of ten ‘safe countries’ is still being finalised, but is expected to include China, Germany, Singapore and the USA. On 1 December, the list will be expanded to include countries designated as ‘low risk’, which will allow many more arrivals to visit Thailand without the need for quarantine.
The news comes following a noticeable change in tack from Thai officials in recent weeks, as the Kingdom moves away from its previous zero-tolerance coronavirus policy, to a more pragmatic approach that focuses on managing and ‘living with’ the virus, rather than trying to totally eradicate it. “The time has come for us to ready ourselves to face the coronavirus and live with it as with other endemic infections and diseases,” said the Prime Minister in his broadcast. “Much as we have learnt to live with other diseases with treatments and vaccinations,” he added.
The Prime Minister went on to thank Thailand’s public health services for their bravery and dedication in keeping the country safe, along with government ministries, the private sector and the general public for their patience and cooperation throughout this challenging time in Thailand’s history. “These achievements, coupled with the gradual relaxation of other countries’ travel restrictions,” said the Prime Minister, “now enable us to begin the process of quarantine-free entry into Thailand.”