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Antigen tests plan for visitors

BANGKOK: The National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC) has approved a plan to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen testing for visitors travelling from 63 eligible countries and territories who are allowed to enter Thailand without the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 26 November 2021, 08:37AM

Under the plan, visitors will be allowed to enter by boat and on land, in addition to air travel which is the only entry mode currently. Photo: Bangkok Post

Under the plan, visitors will be allowed to enter by boat and on land, in addition to air travel which is the only entry mode currently. Photo: Bangkok Post

Speaking after a meeting of the NCDC, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the replacement is in line with the second phase of the reopening starting from Dec 1, reports the Bangkok Post.

The change will apply to visitors under the “test and go” scheme, with vaccination certificates, and RT-PCR certificates issued 72 hours prior to their travel. Upon arrival, they will undergo antigen testing from time to time, he said.

Under the “test and go” scheme, visitors from the 63 countries are exempted from quarantine and require just a single night at a hotel certified by the Safety and Health Administration Plus standard while waiting for their RT-PCR test result.

Anutin said the meeting also approved a proposal to exempt a B50 fee for a certificate of COVID-19 vaccination issued via the e-vaccine passport system for visitors who travel from Dec 1 to 31.

Anutin said the Department of Medical Services also signed an agreement to buy 50,000 courses, equal to 2 million pills, of molnupiravir, the world’s first oral medication for the treatment of COVID-19. Molnupiravir, developed by US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is the first antiviral medication for COVID which can be taken as a pill rather than injected or given intravenously.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) yesterday (Nov 25) also signed an agreement to buy another 30mn doses of Pfizer vaccines which will be administered as booster shots next year, Anutin said, adding that if a second-generation of Pfizer vaccine is developed for children aged below 12, Thailand can also buy them under the agreement.

DDC director-general Opas Karnkawinpong said the second phase of the reopening will be presented for approval by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today.

Under the plan, visitors will be allowed to enter by boat and on land, in addition to air travel which is the only entry mode currently, Dr Opas said.

PKF Thailand

The move comes after information shows that the rate of infections from foreign visitors, including travellers under the test and go scheme, was low at only 0.08%, Dr Opas said.

However, entry by land will be limited to safe border passes, with strict health screening to be put in place, Dr Opas said.

Asked if the government will consider reducing the number of eligible countries from 63 in the wake of new surges of infections in Europe, Dr Opas said the CCSA instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider the matter.

Meanwhile, there were 6,335 new COVID-19 cases and 37 more fatalities registered during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry reported yesterday.

There were 6,305 cases in the general population and 30 among prison inmates. The number of new cases rose from 5,857 announced on Wednesday, when the country recorded 55 more deaths.

On Wednesday, 7,218 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering from the virus.

The 6,335 new cases included 6,298 local infections and seven imported cases. Of the local infections, 6,092 were confirmed at hospitals and 206 via mass testing.

Bangkok had 672 new cases, followed by 455 in Songkhla, 429 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 263 in Surat Thani, 258 in Chiang Mai, 206 in Samut Prakan, 204 in Chon Buri, 178 in Pattani, 171 in Yala and 154 in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Bangkok recorded five new deaths.

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Kamala Pete | 27 November 2021 - 12:11:04

ThomasT - I hope you realise that spreading utter bullcrap is actually illegal. Try to be part of the solution by just shutting up. 

BobTB | 27 November 2021 - 02:18:51

The reason the Thai authorities are abandoning PCR tests on arrival is because the ones taken pre-departure are so accurate that only 0.08% of arrivals are infected, so there is no need to repeat the test a few days later.

BobTB | 27 November 2021 - 02:16:29

ThomasT, please stop spreading lies and misinformation. Mullis died in August 2019 so clearly could have said nothing about Covid-19 testing. As for your ridiculous 97% false positive figure, Google “AAP Factcheck” and search for PCR test instead of quoting social media conspiracy theorists.

Kurt | 26 November 2021 - 17:14:08

Is it fair to ask hotels refund of by Government demanded pre-paying SHA hotels? Hotels 'invested' in SHA registering, meal arrangement for guests 1 night quarantine ( or more nights when arrival PCR test is positive). Most çonvinient option is just to stay pre paid night in chosen hotel. Don't expect refunds in Thailand. Money taken from foreigners never come back to them.. Thai cust...

Kurt | 26 November 2021 - 16:36:15

Meanwhile many have paid their PCR test already for arriving in December. Some friends from Europe ( with thai retirement visa), try already 2.5 weeks to get the Thailand Pass. Their request accepted, they got a code, but so far no Thailand Pass, and they suppose to fly next Monday! What is this?

ThomasT | 26 November 2021 - 14:04:00

Maybe Thai Medics realize the WHO on 1st Jan 2021 stated that then PCR test MEANINGLESS as it only identifies strands of DNA from  flu and hep. virus. The COVID, being a spike protein, not a virus, cannot be idented. PCR= 97% false positives.  According to Dr. Kary Mullis, inventor of the PCR technique: “The PCR detects a very small segment of the nucleic acid which is part of a virus itself.”

dolphinspirit | 26 November 2021 - 11:44:46

So will the hotels give refunds for the reservations made for after December 1?


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