Govt eyes closing isolation sites to air-travel arrivals

Govt eyes closing isolation sites to air-travel arrivals

Health authorities plan to shut state quarantine facilities for people arriving from overseas by air at the end of June.

From July 1 air travellers will have to pay for their quarantine at alternative facilities, although the government will still cover their medical costs under the proposal, which still needs final approval.

The change was made necessary by the number of people abusing the state quarantine system by travelling repeatedly in and out of Thailand, Gen Nattapon Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council and operations chief of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said yesterday.

Some people have made as many as 10 trips, placing an unnecessary financial burden on the state.

The CCSA was looking for alternative state quarantine (ASQ) facilities with reasonable prices to serve the needs of air travellers, he said.

Some hotels have been functioning as ASQ facilities during the pandemic and have been the preferred choice for arrivals who can afford them.

Gen Nattapon said the withdrawal of state quarantine facilities would apply only to those arriving by air. They would have to select their ASQ facilities.

He confirmed that arrivals must still quarantine for 14 days.

The CCSA plan still needs approval from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Gen Nattapon said.

To reduce the financial cost for travellers, he said, the government would pay their medical and health bills.

They would pay only for accommodation and food during quarantine, Gen Nattapon said. That would lower the ASQ rates.

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