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Antigen testing for visitors in doubt as Omicron variant spreads

Antigen testing for visitors in doubt as Omicron variant spreads

BANGKOK: The government is considering suspending the decision to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen testing for air travellers following the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said yesterday (Nov 29).

CoronavirusCOVID-19healthtourism
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 30 November 2021, 08:58AM


Passengers walk past electronic boards showing airline flights at Suvarnabhumi airport on Nov 15. Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Passengers walk past electronic boards showing airline flights at Suvarnabhumi airport on Nov 15. Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Mr Sathit said at Government House the decision to move to antigen testing was made to facilitate the entry of visitors at designated airports, to boost the tourism sector, reports the Bangkok Post.

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration on Friday approved a Public Health Ministry proposal to allow travellers from 63 eligible countries and territories to undergo antigen testing, instead of RT-PCR, from Dec 16.

Travellers subject to RT-PCR testing have to quarantine overnight at a hotel while awaiting the result. Antigen testing takes only hours and visitors would be allowed to proceed to their destinations if the result is negative.

The deputy minister said RT-PCR would be more effective than antigen testing in keeping the Omicron variant out of Thailand.

Avista Grande Phuket Karon - MGallery

Apisamai Srirangson, a spokewoman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the CCSA’s decsion on Friday to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen tests might change, now the COVID-19 situation is changing.

Travellers from eight countries in southern Africa will be denied enty from Dec 1 in a bid to keep Thailand free of the variant.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said Omicron would not spoil the reopening of the country. African countries were not on the list of 63 countries and territories that Thailand allowed entry without mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The government would assess the situation in two or three weeks, including the decision to allow in travellers from more countries without quarantine.

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christysweet | 03 December 2021 - 15:49:24

Thank you KM   I  am corrected from Omni (cron) - which would be the opposite - all encompassing in Latin. Let us hope this is  the final  phase  of SARS-2.  

Kamala Pete | 03 December 2021 - 14:45:35

"Omicron" is a form of the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet,  literally "small 'o' ".  Perhaps signifying that its just a "Little Flu".

Kurt | 03 December 2021 - 09:07:15

No need for overreactions of local governments. Omicron seems to be highly contagious but is 'mild' in effecting.

Taswegian | 02 December 2021 - 08:25:44

I agree with the sentiment, Sweetie, but the spelling is wrong. Omicron with an "n" at the end. As I said before, it is an anagram of moronic and in dealing with it we can only assume that is the way governments will again act.

christysweet | 01 December 2021 - 13:27:11

I think the Omicrom  (shouldn't it be Omni..?) is mutating into the not so common cold which is the consensus of how it would go. We're in the back stretch. 

Paddy | 30 November 2021 - 09:57:38

So what are the tourists that just booked their flights because they thought there was no quarantine ????? It's a pity they can't change their plans as quick as the experts in Bangkok. 

 

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