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Thailand to ease entry rules for travellers, scrap outdoor mask mandate as it moves to endemic COVID-19

Thailand to ease entry rules for travellers, scrap outdoor mask mandate as it moves to endemic COVID-19

Tourists walk on the beach at Koh Pai in Krabi, Thailand. (Photo: CNA/Pichayada Promchertchoo)

BANGKOK: From Jul 1, all travellers will no longer be required to apply for Thailand Pass or purchase travel insurance to enter Thailand, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced on Friday (Jun 17).

Thailand Pass is an online platform where travellers are required to submit documents and information prior to their entry into Thailand. 

However, travellers will still need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. Such proof will be inspected by airline staff before departure.

With the country approaching the endemic stage of COVID-19, CCSA said it has decided to scrap more restrictions that were previously put in place.

Masks will still be recommended for the general public but will not be compulsory outdoors unless the area is crowded or not well ventilated, it said.

For indoor environments, masks will continue to be required. However, according to CCSA, people can remove their masks while carrying out certain activities such as eating, exercising, receiving care or service involving facial areas as well as performing arts.

It has not been confirmed when the move to relax mask-wearing measures will be introduced. A date for the change in mask policy, along with other recommended changes to regulations, is likely to be announced in the Royal Gazette, which could be published shortly after the Cabinet meeting next week.

Night entertainment venues will be allowed to operate as normal, based on pre-pandemic regulations. According to CCSA, this means certain venues will be able to extend their operations until 2am while others will continue to close at midnight.

Temperature screening in buildings will no longer be required unless the area is at high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For social gatherings, CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin said rapid antigen tests will only be required for individuals suspected of having COVID-19.

"The antigen test will be only carried out with suspicious cases showing respiratory symptoms. In case of gatherings with more than 2,000 people, please notify the infectious disease committee in the provinces or in Bangkok in order to monitor and prevent transmission," he said.

Thailand reported 1,967 new COVID-19 infections and 19 deaths on Friday. The total caseload between Jan 1 and Jun 17 is 2,271,445. There were 8,724 deaths during the same period.

On Friday, CCSA also reported that there were 348,699 international arrivals in Thailand between Jun 1 and Jun 15. Most travellers came from Malaysia, India, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.

Editor's note: A notification sent via the CNA App said that the changes to the mask-wearing policy would be in effect from July 1. That is incorrect. The date has not been confirmed. We apologise for the error.

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Source: CNA/pp(aw)

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