Govt defends medical tourism

Govt defends medical tourism

The government will only allow foreign patients who have tested negative for Covid-19 to enter Thailand for treatment, the Public Health Ministry said on Sunday, moving to allay public concerns over the matter.

All foreigners arriving for "medical tourism" visits are required to take three Covid-19 tests and enter a 14-day quarantine at a medical institution, the ministry said.

Director-general of the Health Service Support Department, Tares Krassanairawiwong, said foreign patients are now allowed to enter the country since the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) allowed medical tourism to resume on June 30.

Incoming patients must travel to Thailand by air and can be accompanied by a maximum of three carers, said Dr Tares, adding that both patients and carers must show that they have tested negative for Covid-19 with RT-PCR test.

The test must be taken no less than 72 hours prior to travel, he said, before adding patients will be screened for the novel coronavirus prior to receiving treatment.

After treatment patients will be required to stay at the hospital for an additional 14 days and tested for Covid-19, Dr Tares said. Both patients and carers will be required to download and use the government's tracking application throughout their stay so authorities can keep an eye on them, he said.

Patients must present all required documents to be allowed in, which include proof of health insurance which also covers Covid-19 treatment expenses, financial statements to guarantee their ability to pay their medical expenses and a certificate or appointment letter from a hospital in Thailand, he said.

Separately, national police spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen reminded travellers wishing to travel to Thailand to check first if they are among the 11 categories of travellers the CCSA has allowed to enter, before they buy flight tickets and prepare the documents required.

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