Thailand has announced that it will open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from a list of ten “safe” countries including Australia starting November 1.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said in a nationally televised address yesterday that it was time for the country to reopen following his government’s plans gradually.
Initially, Thailand will begin with at least ten countries on their low-risk, no-quarantine list, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States of America, and enlarge that list by December 1 and, by January 1, move to a very extensive list.
Prayut said that the decision was made with the economy in mind even though Covid-related repercussions were likely.
“I know that such a decision has risk, and it is almost certain that the daily number of Covid cases will increase once we begin to relax measures, but we will closely monitor the situation,” Prayut said.
“This is the high season, and we cannot miss this opportunity.”
As of November 1, international visitors will be able to enter Thailand without any requirement for quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries.
Visitors will need to show that they are COVID-free at their travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country and do a test in Thailand.
The government previously said it would open the country by October 1, but the deadline was pushed back due to increased infection numbers. But now, with the government ramping up its vaccination program, Prayut said the decision was a calculated one.
Prayut added that restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues would be allowed to reopen and sell alcoholic drinks from December 1.
Thailand has shut its doors to foreign travellers for close to two years due to the pandemic. The self-imposed violation has hard hit the economy with a recession in 2020 and minimal growth in 2021.
Before the pandemic, Thailand attracted nearly 40 million visitors a year, drawn to its picturesque beaches and robust nightlife, with tourism making up almost 20 per cent of its national income.
Australia’s border will reopen to outbound departures initially from Sydney from mid-November, with seven day returning home quarantine details yet to be released.
More details to come.
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