The Health Minister announced on Monday that Thailand would reduce the mandatory quarantine period from fourteen to seven days for foreigners who visit the country and have received the coronavirus vaccine.
The measure would take effect from next month, the minister said.
At a press conference, Anutin Charnvirankul said that travelers should get the jab within three months of the travel period and still need to show negative COVID-19 test results within three days of their departure.
People who have not been vaccinated but test negative would be placed in a 10-day quarantine, he said.
Regarding the necessary doses, Anutin said: “Foreigners traveling to Thailand with vaccination certificates in accordance with the requirements of each brand will need to quarantine for only seven days.”
Nonetheless, the new measures do not apply to arrivals coming from Africa.
People traveling from Africa would still be subject to a two-week quarantine due to concerns about the most contagious strain. Likewise, Thai nationals who do not have a coronavirus-free certificate must spend a week in quarantine after two negative tests.
Thailand has taken strategic steps to manage the outbreaks of new coronavirus cases.
Since the WHO decreed COVID-19 a global pandemic, Thailand has only recorded just over 26,000 cases and 85 deaths. Health authorities managed to contain a second outbreak of infections found in December last year.
Some of the measures they took were flight limits, mandatory quarantine for all arrivals, and strict entry requirements.
However, the effects of the pandemic and restrictions decimated its tourism sector, which accounts for a significant percentage of Thailand’s annual income. The country faced widespread job losses and the closure of businesses in the hotel and travel industry, which ended up in the kingdom’s deepest economic traction in more than twenty years.
In 2019, Thailand received around 40 million visitors, but the numbers dropped dramatically last year.
Anutin said there could be further restrictions easing if Thailand manages to inoculate 70% of medical personnel and groups at risk. He also added that they might decide to suspend the quarantine entirely.
To date, 27,497 people have received the jab.
Most of them were medical workers vaccinated with the Sinovac Biotech shot. Authorities have ordered millions of doses of AstraZeneca, expecting to begin mass vaccinations in June.
But Thailand may need to order between 10 and 20 million additional doses, Anutin said.