Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Thailand to relax some COVID-19 measures from June 1. Other restrictions, state of emergency to continue through June 30.

This alert affects Thailand

This alert began 29 May 2020 15:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 30
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in Thailand plan to relax some measures to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from June 1, even as most measures and the nationwide state of emergency are scheduled to remain in place through June 30. From June 1, the nationwide nightly curfew will be shortened by one hour from 2300-0400 to 2300-0300; exceptions for essential and emergency purposes will continue. Additionally, some foreign nationals with valid work permits will be authorized to enter Thailand, with conditions, from June 1.

The government continues to ban public gatherings. 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. Businesses must ensure the use of protective masks and ensure physical distancing measures are in place. Domestic flights are allowed with precautions in place, such as leaving empty seats in each row, requiring passengers to wear protective masks, and not serving food and beverages. 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. Central authorities have instructed provincial officials to screen arrivals from Phuket Province, which has one of the highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, and quarantine symptomatic passengers. Travel to and from Phuket Province remains restricted as of May 29. Arrivals in several other provinces, including Buri Ram, Chiang Mai, and Phitsanulok, are required to 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. Local authorities may reestablish or introduce new interprovincial movement restrictions in the coming weeks if COVID-19 cases increase.

Travel Restrictions

While the government has banned most foreigners from entering the country, some exemptions are in place, including for diplomats and transport workers. Additionally, from June 1, foreign nationals with work permits will be allowed to enter Thailand after applying for 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 14-day quarantines 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.

Advice
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.


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