Officials in Thailand halt visa privileges for passport holders from several locations, from March 11 due to COVID-19. Other measures apply.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 11 Mar 2020 11:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Enhanced health screenings
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Longer immigration wait times, demonstrations; possible quarantine measures, clashes

Summary
Authorities canceled visa privileges for passport holders from several locations as of March 11, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials suspended visas-on-arrival for holders of passports issued by Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu. Additionally, authorities also revoked visa exemptions for travelers using Hong Kong, Italian, and South Korean passports.

The local government in Phuket Province also requires new visitors arriving from South Korea to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a quarantine zone in the province, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure does not affect people from South Korea who are already in Phuket. Authorities have also set up other quarantine sites nationwide to isolate Thai workers returning from South Korea.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) had earlier announced that airlines must require passengers boarding flights for Thailand from mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Macau, and South Korea, to present health certificates before obtaining boarding passes. Officials also require passengers from these locations, which the government has designated as high-risk areas, to submit the health certificate and a completed health questionnaire form for verification upon arrival in Thailand. Additionally, from March 11, the health ministry announced that travelers arriving from these locations need to declare the place, including houses or hotels, where they will undergo self-isolation. Officials said that failure to comply could trigger fines and/or detention; however, the government's level of enforcement is unclear.

Authorities have increased health screenings at international airports, and will immediately transfer travelers who display known symptoms of COVID-19 to designated hospitals. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from high-risk locations. Officials could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Health concerns over the aforementioned quarantine premises or plans to set up the facilities have also prompted dozens to hundreds of locals to stage demonstrations near the isolation sites in Ayutthaya, Chonburi, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Samut Sakhon provinces. Clashes between security personnel and protesters cannot be ruled out in any further protests.

Advice
Follow all official instructions, particularly if traveling from the specified 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. Avoid any demonstrations as a precaution.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Return to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Intelligence Center >>