Published on : Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Thailand is likely to reinstate mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors due to concerns over the spread of a new variant of COVID, Omicron. The Health Ministry reported the country’s first case of local transmission of the Coronavirus variant.
Referring to this, Minister Anutin Charnvirakul stated that the Public Health Ministry will likely revert to hotel quarantine and a ‘sandbox’ programme, which allows free movement of people in specific locations and will propose scrapping a quarantine waiver for vaccinated visitors.
Mr Anutin also added that these steps are driven by worries over the spread of Omicron.
The Minister’s statement comes just after Thailand reopened to foreign visitors in November, after ending its nearly 18 months of strict entry policies, which lead to a collapse in the country’s tourism, a key industry and economic driver which was responsible for luring around 40 million visitors in 2019.
Referring to the active Omicron cases in Thailand, Anutin added that the country had detected 63 people infected with the Omicron variant so far, with one case of local transmission, while the rest are imported cases.
A Health Ministry official informed that the first locally transmitted case was found in a Thai woman, who tested positive to Omicron after contracting the virus from her husband, who returned to Thailand from Nigeria in late November.
The official added that she is likely the first Omicron case in Thailand to have contracted the virus from an overseas traveller and the first locally transmitted case.