Thailand today took a step backward in the evolution of its COVID-related border policies, having just released new updates to its travel restrictions on inbound international visitors.
It is reinstating some entry requirements, starting Monday, January 9.
The latest official guidelines from the Thai Embassy state that all incoming airline passengers ages 18 and older will need to provide proof that they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or, alternatively, were infected and recovered within the previous six months (180 days). In the case of the latter, travelers will need to produce a letter from their doctor to that effect.
Non-nationals visiting from countries whose requirements might prevent their re-entry if they test positive will also need to produce proof of a travel health insurance policy with coverage enough for at least USD $10,000 of COVID-19 treatment during their planned stay, plus an additional seven days spent in Thailand. Preferred provider plans are available here. Incidentally, health insurance is also mandatory for passengers who will be traveling onward from Thailand to another country where an RT-PCR or ATK (rapid antigen) test is required for entry.
Transfer and transit passengers, and those who hold a Thai passport, are exempted from the renewed vaccination and insurance requirements. Airlines will be responsible for ensuring that travelers produce the proper documentation before boarding flights to Thailand. If a passenger cannot provide proof of vaccination, the rules state that they will be subject to testing at the port of arrival.
After suffering the strain on its tourism-reliant economy for two-and-a-half years, the ‘Land of Smiles’ dropped the last of its pandemic-related travel restrictions at the start of October, no longer requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative tests from foreign arrivals.
However, with China abruptly eliminating lockdowns and reopening its borders after nearly three years of strict adherence to a “Zero COVID” policy—which has resulted in a tidal wave of COVID-19 transmission across the massive Asian country—other nations are concerned about the ripple effects this move might have on their own populations, potentially breeding new variants and causing infections to surge yet again.
The U.S. was among a multitude of countries that restarted COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound travelers from China, and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, almost immediately after China announced that it would lift its restrictions starting January 8.
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