Thailand reimposes quarantine for travelers to halt Omicron spread

By AFP   December 21, 2021 | 05:04 am PT
Thailand reimposes quarantine for travelers to halt Omicron spread
Covid-19 has clobbered Thailand's tourism-dominated economy. Photo by AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha
Thailand reimposed mandatory coronavirus quarantine measures for foreign tourists on Tuesday, nixing a quarantine-free travel scheme as the kingdom seeks to stifle the spread of the Omicron variant.

The pandemic has clobbered the country's tourism-dominated economy, which last year experienced its worst performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

In early November Thailand reopened to fully vaccinated travelers -- who had to isolate for a night until they received a negative PCR test -- from more than 60 countries.

But the government announced Tuesday the so-called "Test and Go" scheme will be suspended for at least two weeks.

Visitors will have to undergo hotel quarantine for 10 days, or 14 days if they are unvaccinated.

But 200,000 travelers who already submitted applications to enter the country will be allowed to visit quarantine-free, said government spokesman Tanakorn Wangboonkongchana, adding that a second PCR test would now be required.

He said the "Phuket sandbox" -- a work-around scheme that allows visitors to move around on the island while undergoing PCR tests -- will remain operational.

Thailand has detected Omicron cases in 63 inbound travelers this week, and confirmed one community case.

It has recorded more than 2.1 million Covid cases in total.

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