As the health situation in the country begins to improve, Thailand will downgrade Covid-19 from a “dangerous” infectious disease to one that “needs monitoring” starting in October.
According to Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, this puts Covid-19 on par with influenza and dengue fever, moving it from the same level as plague and smallpox.
The move demonstrates the readiness of Thailand’s health care system, the accessibility of treatments and the “proper self-protection behavior” among citizens across the country.
Thailand will also change its post-pandemic strategy and allow private hospitals to purchase antiviral drugs directly rather than through the government.
Thai authorities said last week that severe cases of Covid-19 and deaths should decline by mid-August. Thailand lifted nearly all travel restrictions and a ban on outdoor masks on July 1.
The moving average of newly reported cases for the 7-day period ending Aug. 11 is 2,190, almost the same as a month ago, on July 11, when the moving average was 2,134. Yes, there was a small spike, but it did not put pressure on the local health care system or lead to an increase in deaths.
Thailand is re-establishing itself as a welcoming tourist destination by officially declaring the disease endemic and radically changing its covid policy.
The health minister believes that citizens must now take care of their own health instead of being closely guarded by the government.
Until recently, tourists were subject to strict vaccination, testing and isolation requirements, as well as Thailand’s notoriously confusing quarantine entry regulations.
Although the country has not yet completely abolished entry requirements like Mexico or even its Asian partner Vietnam, entering Thailand is now easier than it has been since 2020.
Essentially, foreigners must present one of the following documents to receive quarantine-free entry:
- A valid vaccination certificate, or
- A negative covid test (RT-PCR or lateral flow) taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights.