Thailand brings back mandatory quarantine for travellers

·2-min read
Thai authorities are halting the country’s quarantine waiver for foreign arrivals  (AFP via Getty Images)
Thai authorities are halting the country’s quarantine waiver for foreign arrivals (AFP via Getty Images)

Thailand is bringing back mandatory quarantine for all international travellers from 21 December, given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the globe.

The “Test and Go” quarantine waiver, first introduced last month in a bid to attract back foreign tourists, allowed visitors to swerve self-isolation as long as they met certain conditions.

The scheme has now been halted, with travellers forced to stay in a quarantine hotel for between seven and 10 days.

“After 21 December, there will be no new registrations for 'Test and Go', only quarantine or Phuket sandbox,” said deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhanadirek, reports Reuters.

The “sandbox” scheme, launched in autumn, saw tourists able to roam freely outside the accommodation where they were staying, as long as they stuck within the confines of one destination.

This has been paused everywhere bar the island of Phuket, one of the destinations where the programme was originally piloted.

Although registration for both schemes is closed from today, barring Phuket, those who had already signed up – totalling around 200,000 travellers – are still eligible, according to a Thai government spokesperson.

“This is not to shut off tourists but to temporarily suspend arrivals,” they said.

The rules will be reviewed on 4 January.

It’s the latest nation to scale back entry for foreign visitors and up travel restrictions in response to the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Both France and Germany have banned UK travellers from entering: the former has stipulated that Brits must have a “compelling reason” for visiting, while the latter has barred British tourists, business travellers and people making family visits from entering the country. Only German citizens and British residents of Germany are allowed to enter.

Meanwhile, Spain is also mulling imposing stricter Covid-related measures.

The Spanish prime minister has called an emergency meeting with regional presidents on Wednesday 22 December to decide what steps may be necessary.

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