Thailand Continues Ban on Quarantine-Free Entry as Omicron Spreads

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Thailand confirms first case of omicron
Thailand confirms first case of Omicron variant.

Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is to meet later this week to review the suspension of quarantine-free entry programs for vaccinated tourists amid concerns regarding the spread of the Omicron variant.

The taskforce, headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, will discuss visa rules at a meeting on Friday, according to government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Prime Minister Prayut ordered an immediate suspension of the “Test and Go” travel scheme on 21 December last year.

The country’s health ministry has recommended extending the suspension of the Test & Go program, which allowed fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country without quarantine, until 31 January.

Vaccinated foreign tourists can still enter Thailand through the Phuket sandbox program, which allows quarantine-free entry with a week spent on the island before traveling to other parts of the country.

Thailand is now seeing its lowest daily cases of Covid-19 in six months, recording  2,927 cases on Monday, with 18 deaths.  The country has recorded a total of 2,229,558 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

But authorities have raised concerns about the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has risen from only 205 cases on 24 December to 2,062 cases as of Monday, according to Bangkok Post.

Some 64 percent of the Thai population has been fully vaccinated, while 10 percent of people have received booster shots.