Coronavirus outbreak

Thailand recommends against visiting S'pore due to virus outbreak

At a daily press conference, a Health Ministry spokesman advised Thai citizens against travelling to Singapore, Japan, France and Germany. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Thailand's Health Ministry yesterday included Singapore in a recommendation on countries and territories to avoid due to the coronavirus outbreak, spelling another blow for Singapore's tourism sector.

At a daily news conference, a Health Ministry spokesman recommended against travel by Thai citizens to Singapore, Japan, France and Germany.

It had declared China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy and Iran as "dangerous communicable disease areas" last Thursday.

"As more countries have been affected by Covid-19, Thailand will have a higher risk of imported Covid-19 cases," Dr Thanarak Phaliphat, deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department, told the briefing.

"Currently, we are trying to adjust our measures to handle the higher risk," he added.

The remark came amid mixed messaging from the government on a self-quarantine requirement for travellers from high-risk countries.

Last Friday, Dr Thanarak confirmed that a two-week self-quarantine order was not mandatory, but recommended only for those coming from countries hit by the virus.

Only undocumented Thai workers returning from South Korea were being put under quarantine in government facilities.

Thailand is the latest country to warn against travel to Singapore.

Early last month, Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea and Israel urged their citizens to defer non-essential travel to the Republic after its disease alert level was raised to code orange. India did likewise late last month.

Indonesia and Taiwan have issued travel alerts telling their citizens to take precautions if visiting Singapore.

Britain has told travellers re-turning from nine countries and territories, including Singapore, to monitor their health and practise social distancing for 14 days after their return.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has projected a 25 per cent to 30 per cent drop in visitor arrivals this year as the deadly coronavirus continues its global spread.

This estimation is steeper than the 19 per cent decline in 2003, when Singapore endured the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak.

STB chief executive Keith Tan said at an annual year-in-review last month that Singapore was losing an average of 18,000 to 20,000 international visitor arrivals every day due to the outbreak.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2020, with the headline Thailand recommends against visiting S'pore due to virus outbreak. Subscribe