Travellers require two shots
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Travellers require two shots

Govt issues new Covid measures

The government is gearing up to welcome Chinese tourists on Sunday under a new package of measures to help control the spread of Covid-19.

All visitors to Thailand are now required to show proof of at least two Covid-19 vaccinations under revised rules that coincide with the revival of travel from China.

On Sunday, China is expected to open its border and scrap travel curbs for people in the country after three years of its "zero-Covid" policy. As a result, millions of Chinese citizens are expected to travel abroad.

In Thailand alone, about 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected in the first quarter of this year, especially in Phuket, Chiang Mai and tourist provinces in the Northeast, starting on Sunday.

As a result, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday chaired a video conference with government officials to discuss China's reopening.

Attendees included Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn and the executive officials of state agencies, including ministries, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Office of Insurance Commission.

After the meeting, Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said officials came up with measures to handle the arrival of foreign tourists this year and that the monitoring of foreign tourists will intensify.

She said a new Public Health Ministry rule stipulates that tourists must have at least two Covid-19 shots before entering the kingdom.

Meanwhile, those showing signs of respiratory problems are asked by the ministry to postpone their travel and rest until they've fully recovered.

All travellers are recommended to take out a health insurance policy covering Covid-19 treatment during their stay in the country, Ms Traisuree said.

Travellers are also asked to put on a face mask in public places and transport, regularly wash their hands and undergo antigen tests, she said.

Ms Traisuree said those who plan to travel from countries that require coronavirus testing upon arrival should reserve an SHA Plus hotel as it provides certificates from the Department of Medical Sciences.

An operation centre will be set up to monitor the spread of the disease and promptly respond to transmissions among travellers, with an update on the situation reported via the Department of Disease Control's website, Ms Traisuree said.

She said the Tourism and Sports Ministry has set up guidelines for tourists that can be accessed via the 1155 hotline of the Tourist Police Bureau, the Tourist Assistance Centre at 02-134-4077 or the Tourism Authority of Thailand's 1672 hotline.

She said the officials also discussed the health insurance issue for foreign tourists and whether other countries have measures requiring travellers to undergo testing before returning home.

The Public Health Ministry is in talks with state agencies on health insurance and vaccination service matters, she said.

During the meeting, agencies proposed methods to boost the effectiveness of the kingdom's disease control.

Each measure will be reviewed by the communicable disease committee and the ministry.

"I insist that the country's Covid-19 measures will not discriminate against travellers from any particular country," Mr Anutin said after the meeting. He said there is no restriction imposed specifically for Chinese tourists.

"We will not describe tourists by their nationality as all of them are tourists," he said. "Everyone comes from countries that are currently facing Covid-19 issues."

Responding to a question about screening measures imposed on Chinese tourists, Mr Anutin said there are no screening measures for now.

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