The general Thailand Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha, has finalized several important issues – namely the Songkran festival, Emergency Decree extension, health measures for domestic relaxation, Covid-19 vaccine policies, and state quarantine measures relaxation – this morning, March 19.
Firstly, water splashing in all forms, powder smearing, and foam parties will not be allowed during this year’s Songkran festival to prevent any Covid-19 disease transmission. Instead, the holiday will be focused more on traditional aspects of the festival, such as merit-making, sprinkling water on Buddha statues, pouring water on the palms of the elderly to pay respect, etc. People are being reminded to adhere to the health measures of the Public Health Ministry at all times during Songkran.
Secondly, the implementation of the Emergency Decree will be extended as it is still highly necessary to control and prevent the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand. This marks the 11th time of the decree extension since the first implementation in March last year. The decree will be effective from April 1st to May 31st, 2021.
Thirdly, the relaxation of Covid-19 measures in various provinces, including Samut Sakhon, has been approved at the general meeting. Samut Sakhon has been removed from the red-zoned area and is designated into the orange-zoned province, where most economic and social activities can be carried out.
Additionally, Chonburi remains in the yellow-zoned province despite zero cases in fourteen days and only a few cases connected to Bangkok for weeks prior.
Fourthly, the general CCSA meeting also discusses the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation program that has continued to proceed accordingly to the initial distribution plan. Phase 1 of the distribution will be completely provided to frontline healthcare workers and at-risk groups by October this year. Initially, 200,000 shots are due to be distributed to the people by the end of this month.
2,000,000 doses of Sinovac are planned to arrive in Thailand by April. 26 million doses of AstraZeneca will be arriving from June to August. Another lot of 35 million doses of AstraZeneca will be ready for distribution from September to December this year according to the CCSA.
Lastly, the relaxation of state quarantine measures has been approved in principle. The mandatory 14-day quarantine has been reduced to 10 days for people coming to Thailand from foreign countries with no cases of Covid-19 variant strains and deemed as low tisk. Foreigners coming from Covid-19 variant strain countries will continue to perform 14 days of state quarantine and conduct RT-PCR tests three times as usual.
According to the initial plan, in the first phase (April – June), Thais without Vaccine Certificates and Covid-free Certificates and foreigners with Covid-free Certificates are allowed to perform 10 days quarantine and are required to test RT-PCR tests two times. Of course, these are from lowrisk countries in which a full list should be provided in the near future.
In the second phase (July – September), the same criteria will be applied for both Thai and foreigners arriving in the Kingdom. Ideally, Thais and foreigners with Vaccine Certificates dated more than 14 days but less than 3 months, and Covid-free Certificates will be allowed to perform 7-day quarantine. However, this might or might not be implemented in the mentioned period, depending on the situation and consideration of the CCSA in the future.
In the third phase (October onwards), the no quarantine feature is likely planned for those Thai and foreigners traveling from no Covid-19 variant strain countries, depending on the situation at that time. Of course, being six months away, the situation could change dramatically by then.
All of today’s decisions will need final Royal Gazette publishing and some may need Thai Cabinet approval which would not take place until early next week. We will have more details on the announcements on that day.
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