Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration(CCSA), said the kingdom’s medical and wellness tourism programme is expected to restart at the end of this month at the earliest.
However, all agencies involved, such as the Public Health Ministry, the Department of Health Service Support and hospitals catering to the visitors must beef up disease control measures, Dr Taweesilp said.
He said the move is necessary after the country’s COVID-19 fight was set back by a scare triggered by a visiting Egyptian airman and a young daughter of a diplomat who tested positive for the virus. The virus scare angered locals who argued they should have observed stricter precautions.
“The ministry, department and hospitals which look after visitors must work together to come up with stricter measures to plug the loopholes after these incidents,” Dr Taweesilp said.
Under CCSA regulations, foreign medical and wellness tourists will have to arrive by air to ensure effective disease control, as opposed to coming into the country via land border checkpoints.
Those seeking cosmetic surgery and infertility treatments will be allowed to enter the country, Dr Taweesilp said, adding those seeking COVID-19 treatment are barred.
He said the visitors must have an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and entry certificates issued by Thai embassies across the globe.
They also must be able to produce proof that they tested negative for COVID-19 before their arrival.
Upon arrival, visitors can expect to be tested again.
They will have to seek treatment at hospitals arranged by the government. Each visitor will be allowed to bring no more than three attendants with them.
The caretakers are subject to the same screening process as their clients.
After treatment, the visitors will be placed under quarantine for 14 days at the government-sanctioned hospitals before they are discharged.
Meanwhile, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the public health permanent secretary, and senior health officials gave their assurance at a press briefing that if a second wave of COVID-19 infections hits the country, the Public Health Ministry was well equipped to deal with it.
“There are enough medical resources and personnel to handle 1,000 patients per day,” he added.
“Therefore, if there is a second wave of infections, we are confident we can control it.”