Government May Revise Covid Restrictions As Case Toll Drops

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Health revealed the government was in discussion to lower the Covid-19 alert level and ease some restrictions to boost the national economy in response to a slower case toll.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters that authorities could establish more “sandbox” areas for foreign tourists, who will be allowed to visit some Thai destinations without complying with a strict quarantine if they stay in specific areas for seven days and undergo two Covid-19 tests.

The sandbox scheme, designed to rebuild and boost the pandemic-hit tourism sector, has already been implemented in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, and Koh Samui. According to Mr. Anutin, the government has considered Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Samut Prakan and Khon Kaen provinces as potential new test areas.

The health minister also revealed that the “Test & Go” scheme, which allows tourists to move freely within the country if they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival, could be reactivated next month.

Moreover, authorities decided to lower the Covid-19 alert level from 4 to 3 in the government’s 5-level system since the number of deaths and coronavirus-related severe illnesses decreased and the outbreak got closer to being under control, he added.

Mr. Anutin explained that the Public Health Ministry would propose adjustments to the color-coded control zones to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) Thursday. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) would be in charge of defining zoning adjustments in the capital.

But the minister clarified that nightclubs, bars and pubs would remain closed until further notice.

Thailand has logged 2.3 million Covid-19 infections and almost 22,000 since the pandemic started in March 2022. Official figures show that nearly two-thirds of its residents have been vaccinated and 13.5% have received booster doses.