SATURDAY, April 20, 2024

Chinese tourists will not be subject to stricter Covid-19 screening, minister says

Chinese tourists will not be subject to stricter Covid-19 screening, minister says

Thailand will not impose stricter Covid-19 screening for Chinese tourists but will treat them the same as tourists from other countries, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday.

He made the statement before joining a meeting of government agencies to discuss preparations for the arrival of Chinese tourists beginning on Sunday, following the ending of that country’s zero-Covid policy, which effectively prevented Chinese citizens from travelling outside their country.

Anutin said the Department of Disease Control would be responsible for implementing measures and guidelines to treat foreign tourists equally. He also mentioned that Thailand has strong ties with China.

The US has been joined by Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan in imposing tighter requirements, including negative Covid-19 tests, on visitors from China, where infection rates have soared.

"What we have to do is strictly adhere to existing measures [to contain Covid-19], such as wearing facemasks in crowded places," Anutin said.

He said the National Health Security Office had the necessary funds to take care of foreign tourists, adding that they could receive Covid-19 vaccines in Thailand.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration was dissolved on October 1 last year, so all ministries must work together to ensure foreign tourists have confidence in Thailand’s Covid-19 prevention strategy, Anutin said.

"If we are not ready, we will lose the opportunity to stimulate the economy from tourism," he explained.

The Department of Disease Control will monitor the situation and adjust prevention measures if new Covid-19 variants spread in Thailand, the minister said.

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