Govt U-turns on Covid rule for visitors

Visitors wait for taxis at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Dec 28, 2022. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Visitors wait for taxis at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Dec 28, 2022. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The government on Monday cancelled a policy announced at the weekend requiring visitors to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

The Phuket Tourist Association on Sunday said foreign tourism operators were enraged about having to issue refunds to customers, many of whom already en route to airports when the new rule was announced without warning.

The country's aviation authority had on Saturday announced the restrictions, effective Monday, ahead of an expected influx of visitors from China, where Covid-19 cases have surged.

In an abrupt U-turn on Monday, Mr Anutin said requiring visitors to show evidence of two vaccine doses was "inconvenient" and a panel of experts decided that it was unnecessary as enough vaccinations had been administered globally.

Mr Anutin said visitors not vaccinated at all would also be granted entry without restriction.

The first flight of Chinese visitors since the pandemic started arrived in Thailand on Monday, carrying an initial group of an expected 3,465 passengers on the first day, Mr Anutin said.

Mr Anutin said the kingdom was now expecting 7-10 million Chinese visitors.

Authorities will still require foreigners whose next destination is a country requiring a negative pre-entry Covid-19 test to show they have health insurance covering treatment for the disease, Mr Anutin said.

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  • abrupt: sudden and unexpected, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน
  • administer (verb): to give drugs, medicine, etc. to somebody - ให้ (ยา), จ่ายยา
  • aviation: the flying of aircraft - การบิน
  • en route: on the way; bound for; while travelling from/to a particular place - มุ่งหน้าไป, ระหว่างทางไปถึงจุดหมายปลายทาง
  • enraged: very angry - โกรธเกรี้ยว
  • evidence: facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true - หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
  • grant: to officially give something - ให้
  • inconvenient: causing difficulties or extra effort - ซึ่งไม่สะดวก
  • influx: a large number of people or things coming in to a place - การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า  (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • insurance: an arrangement in which you regularly pay an insurance company an amount of money so that they will give you money if something you own is damaged, lost, or stolen, or if you die or are ill or injured - การประกัน
  • refund: a reimbursement; an amount of money that is given back to you - เงินที่คืนให้
  • U-turn (noun): a complete change in policy or behaviour, usually one that is embarrassing; a turn of 180° that a vehicle makes so that it can move forwards in the opposite direction - การเปลี่ยนโดยสิ้นเชิง, การเลี้ยวหรือทางเลี้ยวเป็นรูปตัว "U"
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