Thailand seeks to slash quarantine period for visitors


A health worker inoculates foreign worker at a vaccination centre in Pattani, southern Thailand, on Friday (Sept 24, 2021). - Bernama

BANGKOK, Sept 24 (Reuters): Thailand's disease control committee has proposed a halving of a two-week hotel isolation requirement for vaccinated arrivals, amid delays in plans to waive quarantine and reopen Bangkok and tourist destinations from next month.

Thailand is keen to welcome back foreign visitors, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies caused a collapse in tourism, a key sector that drew 40 million visitors in 2019.

"Reducing the quarantine is not only about tourism, but will help business travel and foreign students," senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference, adding tests would also be required.

Under the proposal, to be presented to government on Monday, those without vaccination proof would be isolated for 10 days if arriving by air, and 14 days if by land.

Authorities this week delayed reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-thailand/thailand-delays- plan-to-re-open-cities-to-tourists-until-november-idINL4N2QO1UG to November plans to grant vaccinated visitors entry without quarantine, due to the country's low inoculation rate.

Only Phuket and Samui islands currently waive quarantine for vaccinated tourists, as part of a pilot scheme.

Less than a quarter of the estimated 72 million people living in Thailand have been fully vaccinated.

The country is still fighting its most severe wave of infections, which has accounted for about 99% of its 1.5 million cases and 15,884 deaths. - Reuters

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