Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Multiple airlines to resume domestic flights in Thailand from May 1. National, provincial, and local movement controls ongoing.

This alert affects Thailand

This alert began 23 Apr 2020 10:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Multiple Thai airlines intend to resume domestic flights from May 1 with enhanced health procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Thai AirAsia (FD), Thai Lion Air (SL), Nok Air (DD), and Bangkok Airways (PG), intend to resume with certain precautions in place; authorities will leave empty seats in each row, have passengers wear face masks, and not serve food and beverages due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19.

Other nationwide measures, which are ongoing as part of a state of emergency declared through April 30, continue; a nationwide curfew remains in effect 2200-0400 daily, with limited exceptions for essential and emergency purposes. Authorities have advised all residents - especially those under the age of five, over the age of 70, or with preexisting health conditions - to remain at their homes. Public transport nationwide remains suspended 2130-0400 daily, with interprovincial travel limited to essential needs. Officials have also banned public gatherings and closed schools and universities nationwide. The government has closed most public venues or are severely restricting access to them as a precaution. While widespread business closures have not occurred, measures such as social distancing and limited operating hours are in force.

While there have been no transport restrictions at the national level, provincial officials have implemented transport bans. Several provinces, such as Narathiwat, Pattani, Phang Nga, Phuket, Satun, Songkhla, and Yala, are maintaining provincewide movement restrictions as of April 23. Phuket Province has suspended all incoming transport through April 30, with exemptions for the transport of essential goods, and banned crew members of cargo ships from disembarking at its ports. Authorities are also banning travel to and from Phang Nga Province, with limited exemptions. Officials in Songkhla Province are also prohibiting people from entering high-risk areas in Singha Nakhon, Khuan Niang, and Bang Klam districts through April 30. Individuals caught breaching movement restrictions may be subject to a fine or imprisonment. Additional provinces may impose movement restrictions if the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

City administrations have also issued restrictions. Authorities in Bangkok, in addition to the closure of public parks, entertainment venues, and some sporting venues, have also ordered the closure of retail outlets such as convenience stores and supermarkets 0000-0500 daily during the state of emergency. Authorities in Ko Samui, Surat Thani Province, are allowing entry only for visitors with medical certificates verifying they do not have COVID-19 through April 30. Officials are also restricting travel in and out of Pattaya, Chon Buri Province, through at least April 30, with exemptions for residents and people who work there.

Travel Restrictions

Officials extended a ban on inbound international passenger flights through April 30 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The government has also banned foreigners from entering the country, with some limited exemptions, including for diplomats and transport workers. The Thai government also approved visa extensions for foreigners already in Thailand through July 31.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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
Confirm all travel arrangements. Follow official instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int