Details from today’s Thailand Covid-19 Center meeting, including Test and Go changes

PHOTO: Prachachat

National –

The Thailand Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has discussed the general Covid-19 situation and additional domestic regulations at a major meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha, today, February 23rd.

Firstly, CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin mentioned at a press conference that the color-coding for all provinces would remain the same. Currently, there are 44 provinces in the orange zones, 25 in the yellow zones, and 8 in the blue tourist zones – including Pattaya/Chonburi and Bangkok. No provinces were in the dark red or red zones.

The zone colors, notes TPN media, are used to provide general rules and mandates for Covid-19 restrictions, with dark red having the toughest restrictions and green zones the lightest.

The CCSA also announced the guidelines for on-site courses for low-risk educational institutions nationwide. The schools can provide offline teaching if teachers, students, and employees are considered low-risk contacts. The in-class exams can proceed under provincial preventive measures if high-risk contacts are not reported at the institutions.

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Regarding the regulations for international arrivals, the CCSA has initially approved the replacement of a second on-arrival RT-PCR test with a self ATK (rapid) test on the fifth day of a visitor’s arrival, starting March 1st. A hotel stay was not mandatory while doing the self-test and the results could be submitted electronically by a tourist on their own. A test before coming to Thailand was still required.

In short, travelers would only need a single payment for ONE ON-ARRIVAL RT-PCR test and one night booking at an SHA Extra Plus accommodation to wait for the first RT-PCR result on the first day of their arrival, although this still needed to be booked in advance. Additionally, the minimum insurance coverage upon traveling to the country would be reduced to USD 20,000 from the current USD 50,000. A visitor can register for the new guidelines and programs effective from March 1st, although there were still questions about if there would be any “grandfather” clauses for those already booked and arriving on or around that date.

Moreover, the CCSA would consider more Covid-19 testing adjustments for international arrivals, such as the potential to remove the first on-arrival test and mandated hotel stay, in April if the Covid-19 situation improved and the new regulations proved effective next month. This was, of course, only consideration and not a promise.

All tourists are also being reminded that they are still required to register and present their documents on the electronic ‘Thailand Pass’ system prior to their arrival via Sandbox or the Test&Go scheme. At this time, there are no plans to get rid of the unpopular Thailand Pass registration program, according to the CCSA, as it is also used to assist in tracking tourists for “security purposes”.

There were no further updates or changes around other restrictions, such as the ongoing closure of the bar and entertainment industry nationwide which has been allowed to be temporary “restaurants” in the meantime with additional rules and certifications and 11:00 P.M. remains the legal official closing time in zones where alcohol can be served at restaurants. The nationwide mask mandate, including outdoors and even alone on a motorbike, remains.

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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.