Thailand reimposes traveler quarantine to stop Omicron spread

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Bangkok (AFP) – Thailand reimposed mandatory coronavirus quarantine measures for foreign tourists on Tuesday, canceling a non-quarantine travel program as the kingdom seeks to quell the spread of the Omicron variant.

The pandemic has hit the economy of the tourism-dominated country, which last year saw its worst performance since the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

In early November, Thailand reopened to fully vaccinated travelers – who had to self-isolate overnight until they received a negative PCR test – from more than 60 countries.

But the government announced on Tuesday that the so-called “Test and Go” program would be suspended for at least two weeks.

Visitors will have to undergo hotel quarantine for 10 days, or 14 days if they are not vaccinated.

But 200,000 travelers who have already submitted requests to enter the country will be allowed to go without quarantine, government spokesman Tanakorn Wangboonkongchana said, adding that a second PCR test would now be required.

He said the “Phuket sandbox” – a bypass program that allows visitors to move around the island while undergoing PCR testing – will remain operational.

Thailand detected cases of Omicron in 63 inbound travelers this week and confirmed one community case.

It has recorded more than 2.1 million cases of Covid in total.

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