Thailand is taking measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and all foreigners within its territory during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of August, the Thai government announced that the country’s state of emergency was to be extended until September 30th, 2020.
Overall there have been relatively few confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand and, encouragingly, there have been no local transmissions since June. It is hoped that this can remain the case by prolonging preventative measures.
With the extension of the state of emergency, visa suspensions announced in March remain in place. Foreign citizens can only enter Thailand under the special circumstances detailed below.
Travel restrictions are temporary, Thai visas will become available again once the government considers it safe for international visitors to return.
Exemptions to Thailand’s International Travel Ban
Until 30th September 2020, only foreigners who meet one of the following criteria can enter Thailand from overseas:
International representation in Thailand
- Foreign nationals on a diplomatic or consular mission
- Members of International Organizations
- Representatives of foreign governments
- Individuals who have permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Work or residence permit holders
- Foreign nationals who hold a work permit
- Foreigners who have already been granted permission by the Thai government to work in the country
- Individuals with a valid Certificate of Residence and re-entry permit plus their families
Other exemptions to international travel restrictions
- Thai nationals
- Pilots and crew members with a scheduled flight
- Family (spouse, parent, or child) of a Thai national
- Individuals seeking medical treatment in Thailand (not COVID-19 treatment) and their carers
- International students and parents/guardians of international students
International entry restrictions are subject to change, categories may be added or removed from this list at short notice.
Entry Requirements for Exempt Travelers
Foreign citizens who meet one of the criteria above have to present special documentation before being granted entry.
All foreigners traveling to Thailand need a medical certificate reporting a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. The test must have been conducted no more than 72 hours before departure.
Passengers also require:
- Insurance which covers medical expenses in Thailand (USD 100,000 minimum)
- Certificate of entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy
- Fit to Fly health certificate
Additional documentation may be needed depending on the reason for travel. Foreigners should check individual entry requirements carefully and ensure they have all the relevant permits and paperwork.
How to apply for permission to enter Thailand
Eligible foreigners should apply for permission to travel to Thailand at their local Thai embassy or consulate.
Applications are sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and assessed on a case by cases basis.
Mandatory quarantine on arrival in Thailand
Everyone traveling to Thailand from overseas is required to enter quarantine for 14 days on arrival. The 2 weeks of quarantine are to be spent at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine facility (ASQ).
ASQ are hotels approved by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, costs are covered by the traveler. Temperature checks and COVID-19 testing takes place during the self-isolation period.
Thai Visa Extensions until September
The Thai government announced that all Thai visas that were due to expire on or after March 26th, 2020 will be automatically extended until 26th September 2020.
This means that foreigners currently in Thailand with a visitor visa, and unable to travel home due to the current restrictions will not have to pay the usual fines for overstaying a Thai visa.
Having a valid passport when in Thailand is a legal requirement. Furthermore, visas become invalid when the associated passport expires. Travelers whose passport is about to run out should contact their country’s embassy in Thailand and arrange to renew the travel document.
How to minimize contagion while in Thailand
The same precautions taken at home should be respected while traveling to and across Thailand. Public health experts around the world advise the following :
- Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap (about 20 seconds) and when not possible, use a sanitizer gel.
- Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it immediately, then wash hands.
- Wear a face mask at all times while in the airport to avoid being denied entry.
- Avoid touching the face if hands haven’t been washed recently.
- Avoid close contact with people who are not well.
The dedicated hotline of the Thai Department of Disease Control is 1422 and should be used by anyone who starts experiencing symptoms. A self-reporting online tool (available in Thai, English, and Chinese) has also been launched.
The normal health recommendations for Thailand (including food and water safety and protecting oneself from insect bites) still apply.
How Has Coronavirus Affected Thailand?
The coronavirus has reached over 120 countries worldwide. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the COVID-19 disease a pandemic.
Fortunately, Thailand remains one of the least affected areas. As of August 28th, there have been fewer than 3,500 confirmed cases so far, the vast majority have gone on to make a full recovery.
Like anywhere else in the world, the disease has affected the Thai tourist industry. Arrivals dropped by 40% in February.
Is Thailand prepared against the coronavirus?
The WHO Thailand Situation Report published on March 5 states that the country:
“Has strong capacities for case detection, risk assessment, case investigation, laboratory diagnosis, clinical management, infection prevention and control, and risk communication”.
John Hopkins University ranked Thailand second in having a robust health system able to assist the sick as well as protecting medical personnel. Concerning the ability to prevent the emergence or release of pathogens, the country was ranked third.
According to the study, Thailand is Asia’s most prepared nation when it comes to dealing with an epidemic.
This means that Thailand is a low-risk area with adequate infrastructures and that the local authorities are doing everything in their power to protect Thai citizens and foreigners alike.