Thai government extends RT-PCR test usage for all arrivals to attempt to prevent the Omicron Covid-19 variant


National –

The Thai government will continue to use RT-PCR tests for all arrivals to Thailand, halting a previous plan to switch to ATK (rapid antigen kit) tests due to the occurrence of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

CCSA deputy spokesperson Apisamai Srirangsan revealed yesterday, November 30th, that the usage of the PCR test will extend initially until December 16th while the relaxed health screening of the ATK on all travelers as announced by the CCSA last Friday would be delayed.

Although the new variant had not yet been discovered in the country according to the officials, the extension of the RT-PCR test aimed to tighten the preventive measures and keep the variant out of the Kingdom.

PHOTO: Thansettakij

On Saturday, the Thai government banned all arrivals traveling from eight countries in southern Africa, namely Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, from December onwards.

Travelers from other countries in Africa that are not listed above are allowed to enter the country under the “Sandbox” scheme only and are required mandatory quarantine. Those who arrived in Thailand from other countries in Africa from December 6th onwards must go through 14-day quarantine and be screened with  RT-PCR tests three times, at their expense.

Meanwhile, visitors from those listed countries who had already arrived in the Kingdom are now being closely monitored by public health officials. If suspicious symptoms were found, they would immediately be taken for RT-PCR tests, Dr. Apisamai concluded.

TPN media notes that scientists and governments are still studying the Omicron variant and there has not yet been enough information about the variant to properly determine if it was more deadly, transmissible, or could evade vaccines, however the variant concerned scientists due to the number of mutations it had.


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National News Writer at The Pattaya News. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.