If approved, visitors next month would only be required to spend three days in their hotel rooms. Visitors could leave their rooms after three days but they must not leave their hotel for 11 more days.
The so-called Area Hotel Quarantine (AHQ) proposal targets at least five provinces considered to be the country’s top tourist destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Chon Buri, a meeting was told yesterday (Mar 6).
Chaired by Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the meeting was held via video conference, attended by officials from the ministry, the Department of Health Service Support and tourism business operators.
With AHQ, visitors would undergo a COVID-19 swab test on the third day of their stay at designated hotels.
If a visitor tests negative for COVID-19, he or she will be allowed to leave their room, the meeting was told.
More swab tests would be conducted while a visitor is being quarantined, but he or she will be allowed to leave quarantine after 14 days after receiving a clean bill of health.
The AHQ proposal is part of the government’s plan to begin reopening the country starting next month, said a source, noting that other travel arrangements, including the travel bubble agreements with other countries, may follow after the month of May as the situation eases.
The government will also consider a plan to allow visitors who have received COVID-19 vaccinations to enter Thailand without having to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, the source said.
Some foreign visitors who arrived in Thailand on Feb 18 under the Golf Quarantine programme, which allows foreigners to quarantine in golf resorts to boost the ailing tourism sector during the coronavirus pandemic, tested positive for the virus, the source said.
Under the programme, visitors are isolated in hotel rooms for the first three days of their visit, and those who test negative for the virus can leave their rooms to play golf.
As for the group of visitors who came to Thailand on Feb 21 under the Villa Quarantine programme, an initiative similar to the Golf Quarantine programme, at the Sri Panwa Phuket Luxury Pool Villa Hotel, none of the visitors were found to have been infected with COVID-19, the source said.
Phisut Saekhu, president of the association of hotels in the eastern provinces, meanwhile, urged government officials to extend its State Quarantine programme, which is joined by 12 hotels operators in Pattaya city in Chon Buri province.
The programme is due to end by the end of this month.