“We will propose improved conditions of the Test & Go scheme, in which new arrivals from overseas take a RT-PCR test just once – upon arrival – with no prior test required before departure,” Public Health permanent secretary Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Wednesday.
“Visitors will then have to take an antigen test [ATK] on the 5th day of their stay in Thailand.”
The ministry will also propose the reduction of mandatory Covid-19 insurance coverage for foreign arrivals from $50,000 to $10,000 to reflect the current treatment cost of Covid-19.
“Currently, the average cost of treating Covid-19 patients has gone down from 1 million baht per person to about 20,000 baht per person, therefore the insurance coverage should be reduced accordingly,” he pointed out.
Kiattiphum said both proposals aimed to make entry into the country easier for foreign tourists and would speed up economic recovery. The proposals are also in accordance with the ministry’s plan to classify Covid-19 as endemic instead of a pandemic.
Last week, the National Communicable Disease Committee approved measures for dealing with Covid-19 during a four-month transitional period before it is declared an endemic disease.
The first phase, which commenced from March 12 and goes on until early April, is regarded as an upward trend of the pandemic, in which the ministry will retain strict control measures.
The second phase, from April to May, is expected to see a spread rate that is still high, and foreign travellers will be required to have antigen tests on the first and fifth days of their arrival. Unvaccinated tourists will be required to quarantine for five days.
The third phase, from late May to June, is expected to be a time when new infections slow down. Unvaccinated tourists will be required to undergo an antigen test at the airport.
In the fourth or last phase starting from June 30, Covid-19 is expected to become endemic and foreign travellers will no longer be required to undergo any tests.
According to the World Health Organisation, an endemic disease must see a death rate no higher than one in 1,000.
Published : March 17, 2022
By : THE NATION