Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Thailand continues to ease COVID-19 controls while maintaining some measures as of June 1. Phuket reopening land, sea points of entry.
This alert affects Thailand
This alert began 01 Jun 2020 10:15 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
Local and central authorities in Thailand continue to ease restrictive measures due to reduced coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity, even though some restrictions remain. Phuket's local government has reopened land and sea points of entry to the province. Phuket International Airport (HKT) remains closed. Provincial officials require travelers who come from Bangkok, Narathiwat, and Nonthaburi provinces, which have reported new cases in the past 28 days, to self-quarantine for two weeks. Phuket's authorities may also require symptomatic arrivals to undergo tests and quarantine at designated facilities.
The central government has reduced the nationwide nightly curfew to 2300-0300, with exceptions for essential and emergency purposes. Several types of businesses and public places, including beauty clinics, bowling alleys, convention halls, fitness centers, gyms, and zoos, have restarted operations with precautions in place. Safeguards include requiring everyone present to wear masks, limiting the number of people at the venues, and preventing the crowding of people. Officials have previously allowed domestic flights to operate with precautions, such as leaving empty seats in each row, requiring passengers to wear masks, and not serving food and beverages. The nationwide state of emergency remains in effect through June 30. The government has also banned public gatherings. Educational institutions remain closed through July, with exceptions for selected programs in vocational schools. 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 localities. The central government has instructed provincial authorities to screen arrivals from Phuket Province and quarantine symptomatic passengers. Officials in several provinces, including Buri Ram, Chiang Mai, and Phitsanulok, have required arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days; affected individuals without a residence can undergo isolation at government-designated facilities. Chiang Rai Province has required 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. 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; exemptions are in place for diplomats and transport workers, among others. Foreign nationals with work permits can now also enter Thailand after obtaining permission at Thai embassies in their home countries, undergoing health screenings, and purchasing health insurance covering COVID-19 treatment. They will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Thailand. Authorities have approved visa extensions for foreigners already in Thailand through July 31.
Inbound commercial passenger flights remain banned through June 30. Cargo, emergency, and repatriation flights and government aircraft will continue operating.
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.