Thailand to remove on-arrival Covid tests starting May

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 Thailand Thailand – Thailand will next month remove a requirement for arrivals vaccinated against Covid-19 to undergo a test and brief quarantine on arrival, an official said on Friday, the latest measure to revive its battered tourism industry.

Visitors are encouraged to perform antigen self-tests during their stay, instead of the current “Test & Go” scheme, where arrivals must isolate in a hotel while awaiting the result of a test on arrival.

The new measure follows the removal last month of a pre-departure test requirement.

“Adjusting measures has an impact on drawing in tourism receipts,” Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson for the coronavirus taskforce, told a news conference.

Tourism is a crucial driver of the economy in Thailand, one of Asia’s most popular holiday destinations, representing about 12 per cent of gross domestic product before the pandemic, when visitor numbers hit a record high.

Although Thailand is seeing a pickup in tourism, numbers are still down sharply from that level, with 210,800 arrivals in March, up from 6,700 in the same period last year, but far short of the monthly average of 3.3 million in 2019.

Still required for visitors, however, is online travel clearance for which proof of vaccination and insurance must be presented. The “Thailand Pass” has long been a source of frustration over the time taken to be granted approval.

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Other rules eased on Friday include reducing the required insurance coverage to US$10,000 (RM43,180) and granting entry to unvaccinated visitors, providing they show a negative pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result.

In other news. the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported 5,899 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, continuing the downward trend that began last week.

The latest number represents a drop of 1,069 cases compared to new infections recorded yesterday, which was at 6,968 cases.

The total number of cases recorded since the start of the pandemic in the country now stands at 4,415,101 cases. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that out of the 5,899 cases today, 16 cases were imported involving eight Malaysians and eight foreigners

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