“Test and Go” program suspension among measures to curb new COVID wave, no lockdown imposed
Tourists entering Thailand on a “Thailand Pass”, granted under the minimal quarantine “Test and Go” program, may do so until January 15th, instead of January 10th, but new applications for the “Test and Go” program will remain suspended until further notice, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today (Friday).
The entry ban by arrivals from 8 African countries, due to the initial Omicron variant spread there, has been lifted and they will now be treated like other arrivals.
For pubs and bars in the eight tourist “sandbox” provinces, they can open as restaurants and sell alcohol like other eateries in the zone, if they seek permission from authorities by January 15th. In the rest of the country, these nightlife venues will remain closed beyond the previously planned reopening date of January 16th.
Eight “sandbox” provinces, which include Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phang-nga and Phuket, remain unchanged as do the measures and rules for eateries in the provinces can serve alcohol until 9pm.
Apart from that, from January 11th, Thailand will open registration for “sandbox” arrivals in Surat Thani (only Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, and Koh Tao), Krabi and Phang-nga, where its health services and management are prepared. This will help disperse the travelers from Phuket, currently the only functioning sandbox province receiving international arrivals without quarantine, and boost local tourism.
These are all measures adopted by the CCSA at a meeting today to address the new wave of COVID-19 infections currently sweeping the country.
According to CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the CCSA has also adjusted COVID-19 zoning by increasing the “orange” or controlled zones to cover 69 provinces, instead of 39.
Currently, there are only “orange” and “blue” or “sandbox” zones. Besides the eight “sandbox” provinces, the rest of Thailand is in the “orange” zone.
All business and non-business activities are permissible in the 69 “orange” provinces without restrictions, such as schools of all levels, child development centres, libraries, eateries inside or outsides malls, malls, convenience stores, markets, flea markets, hotels, beauty salons, beauty clinics, health clinics, spas, sports grounds, swimming pools, cinemas and stadia among others.
Other activities can be held with permission from the provincial communicable disease committee or from Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
Regarding inter-provincial travel, Dr. Taweesin said that there are no restrictions, although the COVID-19 alert has been raised to Level 4, while advising that such travel should be avoided unless it is necessary.
He said that the CCSA did not decide to close down any more businesses, beyond bars and pubs, which have already been closed and remain so beyond January 16th.
Regarding the eight “sandbox” provinces, he explained that eateries which can serve alcohol until 9pm must meet the SHA Plus and Thai stop COVID 2 Plus standards.
Working from home should continue until the end of January, he said, as he urged both the private and public sectors to allow their staff to do so.
Thailand’s COVID-19 daily infections jumped from 3,091 on Tuesday, to 3,899 on Wednesday, to 5,775 yesterday, and then 7,526 today.