The question was posed by a tourist coming to Phuket who expressed his main concern of separation from his children.
Despite the plethora of news releases announcing the Test & Go entry scheme launched on Nov 1, and the news announcements praising its success, the actual process remains to be explained by senior tourism officials.
Even the Entry Thailand website launched this week by the Tourism & Sports Ministry does not explain the process. Under its “Arrival & During the Stay” section, the website only provides three options: “Thailand Tourism Directory”, “Thailand Information” and “Tourist Police i lert u Application (Android)”.
Paweena Chainawong of the Phuket TAC explained to The Phuket News that the procedure depends on the severity of infection the tourist is experiencing.
Ms Paweena explained that after landing at Phuket International Airport, tourists have swab samples taken while they are still at the airport. The tourist then goes to the SHA+ hotel that the tourist has booked and waits for results.
“This will take seven to eight hours before test results are known,” she said.
If a tourist tests positive for the virus, the resulting action depends on the symptoms the tourist is experiencing, she added.
“If a tourist has bad symptoms, he [or she] will be taken to hospital. It will be the hospital that the SHA+ hotel where the tourist has booked has contracted with to provide medical support,” Ms Paweena said.
“The tourist will have to check with the hotel where they have booked to know which hospital that is,” she added.
However, she added, “If a tourist has light or no symptoms, they might be asked to move to a hospital, or they might even be allowed to stay at the SHA+ hotel where they have booked.”
A third option, depending on the circumstances, is that the tourist might be asked to stay at an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) venue, Ms Paweena said.
If a child travelling with a parent tests positive, Ms Panweena explained, “If the child is too young to be left unattended or cannot eat, drink or shower by her or himself, then the parent will be allowed to stay with the child.”
“But if the child is old enough to be alone in a hotel room for periods of time, then health officials will ask that the parent remain physically separated from the child to reduce the risk of the parent becoming infected.”
Ms Paweena was unable to give a clear explanation of the procedure for a single parent testing positive after landing in Phuket while the child tests negative for the virus.
“That is a matter for health officials to determine the risk of infection. I am sure they will do the best they can do,” she said.
However, Ms Paweena noted, “If the parent insists on staying with the child, then the parent must accept the risk of infection and be prepared to pay the full cost of any treatment.”
Ms Paweena repeated, “Please remember, if there are no symptoms of infection, then the tourist will just be asked to stay at a hospital or stay at the hotel where they are booked.”
Regarding any refunds from the SHA+ hotel where the tourist booked to stay before coming to Thailand, Ms Paweena admitted that is a matter between the hotel and tourist.
“It depends on the hotel, but normally a tourist will not be able to get a refund,” she said.