More frequent Covid-19 testing in preparation for shorter quarantine

More frequent Covid-19 testing in preparation for shorter quarantine

็็้Hotel staff prepare to serve food to quarantined arrivals in Bangkok. The government has adjusted its Covid-19 testing process to see if isolation can be shortened from 14 days to 10. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
็็้Hotel staff prepare to serve food to quarantined arrivals in Bangkok. The government has adjusted its Covid-19 testing process to see if isolation can be shortened from 14 days to 10. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The government has changed its Covid-19 testing procedure for arrivals, and is studying whether mandatory quarantine can be shortened from 14 to 10 days.

Dr Thaweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Thursday that health officials this month changed Covid-19 testing for arrivals from twice to three times.

Earlier, each arrival was tested twice during 14-day quarantine, first 3-5 days after arrival, and then again on days 11-13.

Each arrival is now tested three times, on day 0-1, day 9-10 and day 13-14.

The changed testing process would continue until Jan 15. Health officials would then study the results and assess whether quarantine could be reduced to 10 days, Dr Thaweesilp said.

Shorter quarantine would be aimed at attracting foreign tourists.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has previously said  it would be for visitors from low-risk countries.

Asked about Christmas and New Year celebrations, Dr Thaweesip said the CCSA was in  favour of festivities going head and not being banned, as in many western countries.

However, organisers and attendees must strictly follow disease control measures, he said.

Attendees must have personal space of at least one square metre each and their number must be limited to 50% of the venue's capacity, Dr Thaweesilp said.

He also said the government was ready to consider companies' disease control measures to allow visiting employees to work during quarantine.

Dr Thaweesilp said plastic cup producer FP Industries Co had been given CCSA approval to quarantine a few German engineers at its workplace, and for them to install new machinery at the same time.

The engineers would start working with three Thai employees if they tested negative for Covid-19. The Thai staff would then be quarantined for 14 days.

If the foreign engineers tested positive, they would stop working immediately.

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