Committee issues new rules governing medical tourism

Committee issues new rules governing medical tourism

Thailand's medical hub committee on Tuesday unveiled a set of guidelines for medical tourism as the country gears up to open its borders to international visitors.

The first meeting of the medical hub committee -- which was attended by members of the public, related government ministries and the private sector -- resulted in three decisions, said Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Health Service Support.

The first decision, he said, was a policy pertaining to quarantine requirements for Thais and foreigners arriving from abroad for medical treatment.

These visitors will be asked to show proof that they have been tested for Covid-19 at least 72 hours prior to arriving in the country and are required to complete a 14-day quarantine.

Dr Tares added that those who intend to travel to Thailand for medical procedures will be required to undergo three Covid-19 screenings while here -- before, during and after the course of the treatment.

Thai patients arriving from abroad will have the option of quarantining at a state hospital -- where the cost of their stay will be partially covered by their state health insurance -- or at an alternative hospital, which have to be booked in advance and paid by the patients themselves, said Dr Tares.

Foreign patients, however, will have to book their quarantine arrangements in advance, as state quarantine is reserved for Thai citizens only.

The second outcome, he added, was the endorsement of the slogan "Beyond Healthcare, Trust Thailand" -- a part of the government's push to establish Thailand as the healthcare capital of the world.

The third outcome, Dr Tares said, is the decision to promote the production of locally-made medical equipment, including Covid-19 test kits, personal protection equipment (PPE), disinfectants and treatment equipment.

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