Thailand's first batch of tourists from China all test negative for Covid-19; eight cases reported on Friday


BANGKOK, Oct 23 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Thailand's Ministry of Sports and Tourism on Thursday reported that all of the first batch of the country's tourist arrivals since the Covid-19 outbreak have tested negative for the virus.

The result of the first Covid-19 tests on arrival for 39 Chinese tourists who travelled using the special tourist visa reported no positive cases, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

The minister said that another two groups from China are scheduled to arrive on Oct 26 and Oct 28.

Phipat said that Scandinavian travelers have applied to enter Thailand in November to escape the harsh winter back home.

As for now, Thailand will only allow tourists from coronavirus low-risk countries to enter the country.

He said Thailand is exercising extreme caution as it does not want to experience a second wave of infections.

The minister said several countries in Europe are experiencing another surge in infections, and opening Thailand's borders to high infection rate countries will be difficult for now.

Phiphat also told Xinhua however, that should the few batches of Chinese tourist arrivals test negative for Covid-19, and go through the 14-day quarantine without any glitch, he will then convince the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to relax quarantine rules, such as lowering the 14-day quarantine to just 10.

"The Tourism and Sports and Foreign ministries will allow tourists from low-risk cities with zero new cases for more than 30 days," Phiphat confirmed.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry earlier issued a report indicating a massive drop in tourism revenue.

Tourism receipts in the first nine months were 655 billion baht (US$20.9 billion), down 70.6 per cent from the same period last year, or a drop of 1.57 trillion baht.

Meanwhile, CCSA on Friday (Oct 23) reported eight new cases, including three foreigners, in quarantine over a 24-hour period.

The latest cases included a Thai national, aged 31, returning from the United Arab Emirates; a Thai national, 32, from Sudan; an Iranian national, 54, from Iran; a Thai, 20, and a French national, 40, from Switzerland; two Thai nationals, aged 35 and 2, from Bahrain; and a Swedish national, 60, from the UK.

The Thai returnee from Sudan was reportedly a soldier in a UN mission. The Swedish was a reactive case.

All the patients were asymptomatic, except the French national who reportedly had fever.

As of Thursday, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand increased to 3,727 (780 in state quarantine), 150 are in hospital, 3,518 have recovered and been discharged and 59 have died.

According to Worldometer, as of 9am on Friday the number of confirmed global cases had risen to 41.97 million (increasing by 477,751 over 24 hours), 31.81 million have recovered, 10.61 million are active cases (75,051 in severe condition) and 1.14 million have died (increasing by 6,464).

Thailand ranks 146th for most cases in the world.The US has the most number, with 8.66 million, followed by India (7.75 million), Brazil (5.33 million), Russia (1.46 million) and Spain (1.09 million). - The Nation Thailand

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