Thailand approves Rapid Antigen Test for on-arrival screening starting Dec 16


BANGKOK, Nov 26 — Thailand will deploy Antigen Test Kits (ATKs) for fully vaccinated travellers entering the kingdom starting Dec 16 to expedite the entry process in bid to boost the tourism sector.

Foreign Affairs Ministry’s deputy spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said at present, under the quarantine-free travel arrangement, fully vaccinated travellers from COVID-19 low-risk countries and territories entering Thailand via ‘Test & Go’ and ‘Sandbox’ entry scheme need to stay overnight at a Safety & Health Administration (SHA) Plus certified hotel and undergo RT-PCR test.

“(Starting Dec 16), all vaccinated travellers under the quarantine-free travel arrangement only need to book for transportation (from airport to hotel) and rapid antigen test at a SHA Plus certified hotel.

“Travellers do not need to book the hotel room as the ATK gives faster result, in about 15 minutes,” he said at COVID-19 daily briefing, here, today.

He also added that starting Dec 16, Natapanu said travellers entering the kingdom via the ‘Sandbox’ scheme would only need to stay for five days compared to seven days at present in selected tourist destinations before travelling to other provinces.

Starting Nov 1, Thailand welcome fully vaccinated travellers from 63 countries and territories who need not undergo quarantine. Through this scheme, visitors will skip mandatory quarantine and can travel freely the following day once they are tested negative for COVID-19.

Since Nov 1, Thailand has received 104,065 travellers, including 81,270 visitors under “Test & Go” entry scheme. Data showed a total of 135 or 0.13 per cent of visitors who entered the kingdom tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said Thailand will ease its COVID-19 restrictions including lifting the night curfew in all provinces.

He said entertainment outlets will remain closed until next Jan 16, but it may be allowed to reopen sooner if the situation improves.

Taweesin said the CCSA meeting today decided to extend the State of Emergency until Jan 31 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 6,559 new COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 2,094,886 and 20,645 fatalities to date.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha today urged Thais to avoid travelling to African countries amid concern of new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa.

“I am aware of the COVID-19 B.1.1.529 variant. The Department of Communicable Disease Control and the Ministry of Public Health are looking into it.

“Travel to these countries is strictly prohibited to curb the spread of the virus,” he said.