Thailand has announced that it will temporarily suspend the visa on arrival scheme for 19 countries, and visa exemptions for three others to contain the spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The 18 countries are Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu.
Visa exemptions will be canceled for South Korea, Italy and Hong Kong.
The new measure will become effective from March 13 and last until September 30 this year.
All existing visas attached to the passports and travel documents issued by Thai Embassies and Consulates before the temporary suspension remain valid.
Otherwise, all arrivals from those countries must apply for visas at a Thai embassy or consulate and travel with a medical certificate to prove they are not infected with the virus, Bangkok Post reported.
Separately, the Thai government mandated on March 12 all inbound foreign travelers provide personal contact information through a mobile app developed by Airports of Thailand (AoT) with their consent as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Arrivals can download the app, fill in their information and give consent, noting the process should take only a few minutes. The information includes phone numbers, addresses, passport number, and name.
Thai arrivals from high-risk countries must also provide information via the app.
If travelers encounter errors with the application, they should fill in the information on an immigration form upon arrival.
Thailand reported five new coronavirus cases on March 13, which brought the country’s total to 75.
Thailand drastically modified its visa policy in 2016, restricting visa-on-arrival by land for most nationalities two only two visits per year.