Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Thailand suspends all international arrivals through April 18. Further national, provincial, and local movement controls continue.

This alert affects Thailand

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 16:10 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
Thai officials continue to increase movement and business restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of April 6. The government has banned all international arrivals, including by Thai citizens, through at least 1700 April 18; the ban was initially set to expire April 15. The ban on inbound international travel applies to all ports of entry. Additionally, authorities have imposed a nationwide curfew from April 3, which is in effect daily between 2200 and 0400; public transport nationwide is suspended daily 2130-0400. Officials allow the movement of medical personnel and patients during the curfew hours.

Officials have banned public gatherings and closed schools and universities nationwide. People over the age of 70 and under the age of five, along with anyone with preexisting health conditions, have been told to remain inside their homes. Authorities have encouraged other residents to remain at home and limit interprovincial travel. As of April 6, domestic transport restrictions have not been imposed on the national level, though transport bans have been imposed at the provincial level and national authorities may introduce public transport controls in the coming days.

Business and movement restrictions vary by locality. Several provinces, primarily in Thailand's south, have maintained stricter movement restrictions as of April 6. Province-wide movement restrictions have been imposed in Phuket, Pattani, Phang Nga, Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla, and Satun. Phuket Province is closing all incoming maritime and ground transport through April 30, while air transport will cease April 10-30. Officials in Phuket allow the transport of essential goods, such as fuel, construction materials, food, and medical equipment, among others. While ports in the province remain open to process cargo, crews are banned from disembarking from vessels. Authorities are also banning travel to and from Phang Nga Province, with officials quarantining individuals traveling from high-risk areas outside the province for 14 days. Tourists traveling to high-risk areas within the province must have a medically approved certificate that has been issued within the previous three days. Officials in additional provinces may also impose travel restrictions in the coming days if the number of COVID-19 cases increases. Individuals caught transgressing movement restrictions may be subject to a fine or imprisonment.

Some restrictions have been imposed specifically at the municipal level. The government has closed public parks, entertainment venues, and some sporting venues in Bangkok. Officials have ordered retail outlets in Bangkok, such as convenience stores and supermarkets, to close 0000-0500 daily through April 30. Officials have banned nonessnetial movement of people and vehicles in and out of Patong, Rawai and Karon, in Phuket. Ko Samui, in Surat Thani Province, will ban visitors from entering through April 30, unless they can provide medical cerficiates proving they do not carry COVID-19.

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 Organisation (WHO): www.who.int