Thailand will consider canceling the arrival RT-PCR test for foreign travelers at an important meeting next Friday.
The Ministry of Health will offer to replace RT-PCR testing with a rapid antigen test, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Thursday (April 7).
The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will discuss this easing in a meeting Friday, he added.
Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said the CCSA’s green light on this matter could lead to the new rule taking effect after the Songkran festival, which begins Wednesday.
However, a source at CCSA said the switch to antigen testing could come into effect next month, as early as May 1.
The current rules are too restrictive
Visitors to Thailand are currently required to pre-book an RT-PCR test as well as a hotel stay to obtain a visa.
Hotel operators say the rules are a major barrier to travelers to the country.
Thailand was one of the first tourism-dependent countries to end quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors and this month waived a requirement to take a pre-travel Covid test, but the number of arrivals, although it increased, did not meet expectations.
The Thai Hotel Association and the Federation of Thai Industries want the government to end the “Test & Go” visa program to boost the economy.
See : Traveling to Thailand in 2022 What You Need to Know – Updated April 1
The average number of daily arrivals of foreigners at Suvarnabhumi airport rose 66% in April from the previous month, to 11,623, after the government scrapped the requirement to conduct a Covid test before travel, government spokesman said. Thanakorn Wangbookongchana.
He added that outbound travel will accelerate in the coming months to support a faster recovery in the tourism sector.
See : Arrival of foreign travelers in Thailand is increasing
Easing of rules to be revised after Thai New Year
Mr Anutin said the government could further relax restrictions on Covid testing as the annual Songkran holiday, which marks, Thai New Yeardo not trigger peak in new cases.
A large number of people are expected to attend the festival this year when they return to their home provinces.
“Precautions will be taken to prepare for inter-provincial travel and activities during the festival,” Mr Thanakorn said.
The ministry warned earlier this week that the number of new daily infections from travel and family reunions could rise to 50,000 to 60,000.
Thailand reported 26,081 new Covid-19 infections and 91 deaths on Thursday.
Source : bangkok post