Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Thailand banning inbound flights through June 30. A nationwide state of emergency, national and local level restrictions ongoing.
This alert affects Thailand
This alert began 18 May 2020 06:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions
Officials have extended a ban on inbound passenger flights through June 30 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Cargo, emergency, and repatriation flights and government aircraft will continue operating.
Authorities are maintaining a nationwide state of emergency through at least May 31. A nationwide 2300-0400 nightly curfew remains in effect, with exceptions for essential and emergency purposes. The government continues to ban public gatherings and close educational institutions. Officials have advised residents - especially those under the age of five, over the age of 70, or with preexisting health conditions - to remain at home.
The central government has allowed several businesses, including traditional food markets, shopping malls, restaurants, massage parlors, fitness centers, and gyms, to resume operations with precautions. Companies must ensure the usage of face masks and physical distancing measures. Domestic flights have restarted operations with precautions, such as leaving empty seats in each row, requiring passengers to wear face masks, and not serving food and beverages. Thai authorities have sometimes provided conflicting information about COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks; changes to measures may occur at short notice.
Local-level measures are in place in several provinces or cities. The central authorities have instructed provincial officials to screen arrivals from Phuket Province, which has one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, and quarantine symptomatic passengers. Travel to and from Phuket Province remains restricted as of May 18. Arrivals in several other provinces, including Buri Ram, Chiang Mai, and Phitsanulok, will require self-quarantine for 14 days; affected individuals without a residence can undergo isolation at government-designated facilities. Chiang Rai Province requires people who have recently spent more than one day in Bangkok, the capital's neighboring provinces, and Narathiwat, Pattani, Phuket, Satun, and Yala provinces, to self-quarantine for two weeks. The local government in Pattaya has closed all beaches through May 31. Local authorities may reestablish or introduce new interprovincial movement restrictions in the coming weeks if COVID-19 cases increase.
The government has banned foreigners from entering the country, with some exemptions, including for diplomats and transport workers. Authorities have approved visa extensions for foreigners already in Thailand through July 31.
Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.