Thailand’s “Test and Go” scheme will remain suspended until at least the end of January, according to a proposal issued by the Ministry of Public Health on Monday.
According to a local news outlet, a top Public Health Ministry official said on Tuesday that “there is no plan to bring “Test and Go” back under the current circumstances.”
Visiting Thailand under said program meant that travelers were required to stay at a government-designated hotel for a single night while waiting for their RT-PCR test negative results so they could resume their trips.
But, following a discussion about the ongoing epidemiological situation, the Operations Committee of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said it will suggest an indefinite suspension of the entry program, which was set to resume on Jan. 4.
Nearly 200,000 persons who had already signed up for the quarantine waiver were told on Dec. 21 that they could still enter the country under the Test & Go program.
If something international travelers have learned during this pandemic is that entry restrictions can change from one day to the other.
For instance, the Public Health Minister said on Monday that travelers who have already been issued a “Thailand Pass” under the “Test & Go” program must arrive in Thailand as soon as Jan. 10.
Those unable to travel to Thailand over the next five days will have to enter the country under the Phuket “sandbox” program.
That means they must stay at their island hotel for the first five days before traveling elsewhere or entering quarantine.
During this isolation period, visitors must undergo two RT-PCR tests.
The decision is linked to unfortunate statistics that show that 78% of the COVID-19 cases among foreign tourists were detected in the Test & Go program.
With over 2,000 Omicron cases detected so far, the Ministry of Public Health announced that the country is entering a new wave of COVID-19 infections.
Medical experts forecast that daily infections would reach tens of thousands of cases over the weeks to come.
The Medical Sciences Department reported an additional 229 Omicron variant cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 1,780, with the majority of cases in Bangkok, Kalasin, Roi-et, Chon Buri, and Phuket.