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Curbs likely for Chinese arrivals

BANGKOK: The Ministry of Public Health looks set to propose adopting COVID-19 screening measures for international travellers, particularly ones arriving from China, following China’s announcement that it is reopening its borders.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 31 December 2022, 09:40AM

Travelers are using Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Wednesday (Dec 28). Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Travelers are using Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Wednesday (Dec 28). Photo: Somchai Poomlard

The measures, designed to help curb the expected rise in the number of COVID-19 infected travellers after China reopens, have drawn criticism from a leading medical expert who warned that implementing such measures could be seen as discrimination against Chinese travellers.

Following its meeting on Thursday (Dec 29), the ministry decided to propose four new COVID-19 screening measures and another meeting scheduled to be held on Jan 5 with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Transport, said Dr Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, chief of the Division of Epidemiology.

“All international arrivals must have a record of receiving at least two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, while all international travellers arriving in Thailand from China have to have a health insurance package that fully covers COVID-19 treatment,” Dr Chakrarat said, referring to the proposals.

These travellers also will be required to show negative results of an antigen test for COVID-19 that is completed 48 hours before arriving in Thailand, he said. They will also be asked for cooperation in wearing face masks, to practise social distancing and wash their hands frequently with hand sanitiser, reports the Bangkok Post.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) also plans, in parallel, to conduct sentinel surveillance for COVID-19 infections in which it will randomly test international visitors arriving at Thailand’s international airports for COVID-19 using the RT-PCR test, he said.

Ixina Thailand

“As for the Thais, they will be advised to keep wearing face masks in crowded areas, to get properly vaccinated and to undergo a self-antigen test if or when they develop symptoms suspected to be those of COVID-19,” he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has projected that the number of Chinese travellers arriving in Thailand in January, February and March will be 60,000, 90,000 and 150,000, respectively, said Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the DDC.

These figures account for about 5% of all international arrivals, he said. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob expects the number of Chinese travellers arriving in Thailand next year to be between 7 million and 10mn after China reopens its borders on Jan 8.

Prof Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Mahidol University at Siriraj Hospital, said he disagrees with the plan to implement seemingly “discriminatory” COVID-19 screening measures that single out Chinese travellers.

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christysweet | 03 January 2023 - 18:57:12

Ignorance abounds !  Virus particles are carried on respiratory mist and  the surgical masks are perfectly adequate if EVERYONE is wearing them. When one person isn't then the protections lessen. 

Timothy | 03 January 2023 - 17:30:44

Kamala Pete, Comrad haraldski is a perfect example of why Russians' are so disliked. They are poorly educated, crass, rude, loud and arrogant. 

Kamala Pete | 03 January 2023 - 14:20:00

Actually Haraldski, most respiratory infections (Covid, TB etc) are passed on by exhaled droplets. The masks DO catch (or at last minimize) emitted droplets. Thousands of doctors, epidemiologists and scientists are wrong and clever Haraldski is right?? I think not.

harald | 02 January 2023 - 23:53:55

kamala unny this alleged protection by western vaccines that even after 5 times do not protect against this flu infection. the protection provided by masks, which are just about good against coarse road dust, is still funny. even the best ffp3 masks do not protect against the flu virus covid19, because he is much too small

Kurt | 02 January 2023 - 09:22:04

Perhaps Prof DR Prasit can break a lance about the discrimatory tourist ticket prices National Parks and restaurant menu's with tourist prices. A Thai should not talk about discrimination living himself in the Land of Scam and Discrimination.

Kurt | 02 January 2023 - 08:41:39

More and more countries install Covid testing rules for the expected Chinese travellers. No where is there trust in the official CCP Covid figures and the chinese Sinovac vaccinations. Some European countries start testing chinese upon arrival. If test positive they refused entrance and have to go in quarantine.

christysweet | 01 January 2023 - 18:31:35

Please reinstate  mask mandates in groceries and banks. Western tourists  are everywhere maskless and completely oblivious about distancing.  Ignorant, selfish and entitled beyond any semblance of civility.     

Kamala Pete | 01 January 2023 - 15:44:39

Cyber spider, you have probably been protected by the vast majority who HAVE been vaccinated and DID wear masks. Please stay away from Phuket and take your next holiday in China. 

JohnC | 01 January 2023 - 09:24:35

About time they made a decision not totally based on more tourist money coming in. Think about the safety of your own population instead of lining your pockets even further.

cyberspider | 31 December 2022 - 18:59:45

Useseles redundant measures. Just let this covid sham be already and start functioning normally as 3 years ago. I haven't caught this or any other cold in last 1.5 years (after having it once with mild symptoms) Im not vaccinated, didnt wear facemask and was regularly in contact with positively tested people. I have visited Thailand 2 month ago btw, right after the measures were lifted.

Capricornball | 31 December 2022 - 17:22:33

Boy, it didn't take Khun Anutin half a day to flip-flop from his stance yesterday to open the doors to Chinese carte blanche. Good thing all the "real" decision makers behind the scenes slapped Mr Anutin back in line, as well as ignored Khun Watanapa snowflakey claim of discrimination and let common sense rule for a change.

H2538 | 31 December 2022 - 11:09:05



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