UK lifts Thai arrivals ban

UK lifts Thai arrivals ban

PM hails move as 'vote of confidence'

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has thanked the Thai public and all involved in the nation's fight to contain the pandemic and restore international confidence which will be marked by the UK's removal of Thailand from its Covid travel red list on Monday.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Friday the number of countries on the UK Covid travel red list will be cut from 54 to seven and Thailand will be among the 47 to see their status change.

"On the matter, the prime minister wishes to thank Thais and all agencies involved for complying with the government's measures. He is confident that this success is the result of the government's determination to carry out disease control measures worthy of international recognition," the spokesman said.

Mr Thanakorn said that Gen Prayut met UK ambassador Mark Gooding for talks on Wednesday. During the meeting, the ambassador praised the government for its efforts to battle Covid-19.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sent his regards to Gen Prayut through the ambassador, Mr Thanakorn said.

"That Thailand has gained this trust is a positive sign of the conduct of Thai policy. We believe that the easing of the UK measure will make it easier for people who want to travel there for a variety of reasons. This will also signpost the way towards a 'new normal' way of life," he said.

When the delisting takes effect, Thais who will be allowed to enter the UK without having to undergo quarantine must have received two shots of vaccines approved by the UK 14 days prior to their travel.

The vaccines are AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Thais who have only received one vaccine shot, or an unapproved formula, must be tested for Covid-19 three days before travel. Upon arrival in the UK, they must self-quarantine at home or in hotels for 10 days and will be tested on days 2 and 8 after arrival.

Tanee Sangrat, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said that the UK has not imposed conditions on vaccine production locations, which means those who received two shots of AstraZeneca vaccines made in Thailand can also enter the UK without the need for quarantine, Mr Tanee said.

He said that the delisting is the result of joint efforts by several agencies including the Thai embassy in London, the Foreign Ministry and the Public Health Ministry.

Bhumjaithai list MP and party registrar Supachai Jaisamut posted on Facebook on Friday, saying Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul previously met Mr Gooding to explain how the government was handling the Covid-19 situation and how the vaccination drive was making progress.

Reuters on Friday reported that Britain will scrap tough Covid-19 quarantine requirements for 47 destinations including South Africa and Thailand on Monday and make it easier for people to arrive from countries including India and Turkey in the latest relaxation of the rules.

Britain's tourism industry has essentially lost two full summers after travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 deterred many people from going abroad.

Many countries with high infection levels were put on a red list, requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in a government-provided quarantine hotel, while the need for a PCR test and other tests often cost more than the flight itself.

Airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have said that the approach and the frequently changing restrictions have delayed any recovery in the sector, leaving the British industry lagging behind its European peers.

On Thursday, UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps said he would remove 47 destinations from the red list. The destinations included Thailand. Seven countries will remain, including Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.

"Thailand will no longer be on the red list for entering England. Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland," the UK government's foreign travel advice website posted.

Mr Shapps has also eased the rules for countries such as India, Turkey and Ghana, with fully vaccinated arrivals only needing to take a test on day 2 to check for Covid.

The move came after Britain earlier dropped its advice against all but essential travel for 32 countries except for red-listed territories including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand.

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