Test & Go visitors must make two hotel bookings

Test & Go visitors must make two hotel bookings

Mandatory Covid-19 tests 5 days apart

Tourists check in for departure at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Monday, the eve of the Test & Go entry scheme's resumption. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Tourists check in for departure at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Monday, the eve of the Test & Go entry scheme's resumption. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Visitors who arrive by air under the Test & Go programme, which resumes on Tuesday, will have to book hotel accommodation twice for two mandatory Covid-19 tests, and comply with disease controls, or face legal action, a government spokesman said on Monday.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the revised Test & Go scheme now required two Covid-19 tests for each visitor, the first on arrival and second on day 5 of their visit.

Visitors would have to show evidence of bookings for the two nights at one of the designated hotels contracted to provide testing services with partner hospitals, he said.

"If they test negative in the first test, they can travel freely until the second test," Dr Taweesilp said.

The revised, reopened Test & Go will be available for visitors from all countries, he said.

If their Covid-19 insurance coverage was limited, visitors found to be infected would still have to meet all costs themselves for their uninsured treatment at hospitals or quarantine hotels, and for disease control responses for high-risk contacts, he said.

Registration for Test & Go entry was suspended late last month due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Until then, it was the most popular means of entering Thailand, with only one night of quarantine while waiting for a test result.

From Jan 1 to 30, 185,037 visitors arrived in the country by air. Russians were the largest group at 19,450, followed by 11,469 Germans, 10,458 Americans and 10,091 Britons, the spokesman said.

This month, Dr Taweesilp said, 22 Test & Go visitors violated disease controls and most could not be located when their Covid-19 tests returned positive.

"Please stay overnight at your hotel and wait for your test results. If there are many tests around the same time, it may take 3-6 hours for the result to come back," he said.

Violators were liable to a fine of up to 20,000 baht depending on the frequency of the defiance. Penalties were much harsher in some other countries, which imposed massive fines and even imprisonment, he said.

In Canada, visitors who failed to do mandatory tests could be fined as much as C$750,000  (about 19.6 million baht), according to Dr Taweesilp, who quoted the Thai Foreign Ministry. Hong Kong had provisions for fines and jail terms up to six months for disease control violations, he said.

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