Thailand plans to halve quarantine for vaccinated foreign visitors as reopening may be delayed

Thailand is betting on the return of foreign tourists to revive its economy.
Thailand is betting on the return of foreign tourists to revive its economy.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Tourism-reliant Thailand is planning to slash a mandatory quarantine period for vaccinated international travellers to seven days to boost its economy as a wider reopening is seen delayed by a low vaccination rate.

The reduction in quarantine from the current 14 days will help boost Thailand's economy and tourism, according to Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control.

If a shorter isolation period is approved by the nation's Covid-19 task force, it could be effective from Oct 1, he said.

Under the proposed rules, international travellers with vaccine certificates will still need to be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival and before leaving the quarantine, according to Dr Opas.

Visitors without jab certificates arriving by air will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine, while those arriving by land will have to complete a 14-day quarantine.

Thai officials have signalled a delay to previously announced plans to scrap the quarantine for visitors to several provinces, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai from Oct 1, citing their failure to meet the 70 per cent vaccination threshold for local residents.

Some tourist destinations, including the resort island of Phuket, already allow inoculated visitors to enter without quarantine.

Thailand is betting on the return of foreign tourists to revive its economy as the sector generated more than US$60 billion (S$81 billion) from about 40 million visitors in 2019.