Public Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul yesterday reminded while visitors arriving from China won't be treated differently from travellers from other countries, they must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and hold an appropriate health insurance policy.
At a press briefing yesterday, Mr Anutin said Thailand wouldn't discriminate against tourists from China by subjecting them to specific anti-Covid measures.
The ministry will consult all available guidelines before imposing such restrictions on a specific group of travellers, he said.
The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has prepared guidelines to ensure the public remains safe as the country reopens for international tourism, he added.
"These measures weren't driven by the desire to boost the economy alone. The DDC took into consideration all means to protect our citizens, as public health is just as important as economic recovery," he said.
After meeting medical experts, the minister said he has faith in Thailand's ability to keep Covid-19 under control.
As the Covid-19 variants which are prevalent in China are similar to those found in Thailand, and the patterns of infection tend to be roughly the same, there is "no need to treat those coming in from China differently," he said.
DDC director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong said yesterday the department is opening a centre to monitor Covid-19 infections among foreign visitors so the government can keep track of case numbers and symptoms.
"This should give us a better idea on how to tackle infections," Dr Tares said.
Also, the DDC will collect samples of wastewater from aircraft on international routes weekly to detect the presence of Covid-19 sub-variants, said Dr Tares.
"It is predicted that 300,000 people will arrive from China in the first quarter of this year, with some 60,000 of them coming this month, another 90,000 next month and the rest in March," he said.
Dr Tares said about 90% of foreign travellers have been fully vaccinated.