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Phuket Sandbox rules tweaked

PHUKET: The rules for vaccinated foreign tourists to enter Thailand from tomorrow (July 1) under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme have been published in the Royal Gazette, with some changes and clarifications to several important rules for tourists wanting to come to Thailand.

COVID-19tourismCoronavirushealtheconomics
By The Phuket News

Wednesday 30 June 2021, 10:50AM


Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced the publication of the Sandbox rules in the Royal Gazette during a live broadcast online this morning (June 30).

“From the measures announced by the Royal Gazette yesterday, there are three main topics, which are the measures for tourists before coming to Thailand, the measures for tourists while staying in Thailand, and the measures for tourists before leaving Thailand,” he said.

“Before coming to Thailand, they must avoid going to risk areas for at least 14 days [prior to travel]. They must come from the 66 countries which have been presented by the TAT [Tourism authority of Thailand] and stay in the country of origin for at least 21 days before coming to Thailand. They must register through official website [https://entrythailand.go.th/journey/1], he added.

“They must have a COE, a COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours [prior to travel], insurance covering US$100,000, a booking with a SHA+ hotel in Phuket for 14 days, as well as pay for RT-PCR tests,” Governor Narong continued.

Of note, thePhuket Official COVID-19 Information Center, operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, this morning confirmed that 300 Certificates of Entry have already been issued.

“If they stay less than 14 days, they also need to present their return flight booking,” Governor Narong continued.

“They must have a vaccine certificate which has been approved by the World Health Organization or a Ministry of Public Health. Tourists who are younger than 18 years old and unable to be vaccinated must be RT-PCR tested before coming,” he said.

“After arriving at the airport, they must have their temperature checked. Then they need to present documents and go through the immigration and customs processes. Then they will be RT-PCR tested and directly go the hotel they have booked.

“At the hotel, they are not allowed to leave their rooms until the test result has been issued and the result is negative. They will be tested again on day 6/7 and day 12/13. If a tourist is found infected, hotel staff must inform the contracted hospital to come and pick the tourist up. All the cost of treatment must be paid by themselves [the travellers],” Gov Narong said.

“For those who test negative, they are allowed to leave the hotel, but they must come back to stay in the hotel ‒ even if they have their own house in Phuket. We have an SHA+ manager in each hotel who will inform us of the number of tourists returning to the hotel every day,” he cautioned.

“They need to stay on the island for 14 days if they want to go to other provinces. There is no need to stay 14 days if they want to leave the country [from Phuket],” he said.

“Before leaving [Phuket], they need to present the documents to officers at Phuket Check Point [at the bridge leading to the mainland] or the airport. Right now, the seaports are not ready for checking tourists’ information,” he noted.

“This is what was explained in the announcement, which we have been asked about many times. The announcement also explained about the duties of each official, which is much clearer than before,” Governor Narong noted.

The Phuket Official COVID-19 Information Center, operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior at 9:10pm last night posted a copy of the rules published in the Royal Gazette in Thai, along with a letter from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha signed and dated yesterday (June 29).

“The national government realizes about necessity of opening a pilot area to welcome foreign tourists which will be beneficial for tourism and other relevant industries,” PM Prayut said.

“The government has prepared measures and cooperated with officials to properly follow the measures under the Emergency Decree and to move forward our economy and society which will be along with effective public health measures,” he added.

As explained by Governor Narong this morning, the post by the Phuket Official COVID-19 Information Center last night explained several of the key sections of the rules “for persons permitted to enter the Kingdom in the area designated as a tourism pilot province for economic benefits tourism or other activities according to government policy” published in the Gazette, as follows:

Measures before entering the Kingdom

1) Avoid risk areas or community places for at least 14 days.

2) Must travel from a country/region that the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) or other centre of operations for implementing measures for travel and taking care of Thai people abroad approved in accordance with the criteria prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health by the proposal of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand and has been registered through the system or website specified by the government. 

The traveller must stay in the said country for at least 21 days before departure, except for those who reside in the Kingdom who have left the Kingdom and have traveled to the above approved countries/regions.

Documents used for entering the Kingdom:

- A letter certifying that a person can enter the Kingdom (Certificate of Entry - COE).

- Medical Certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected by RT-PCR method up to 72 hours prior to departure.

 - An insurance policy that covers the expenses of healthcare and medical treatment or any other insurance, including the case of COVID-19, throughout the duration of the traveller’s stay in the Kingdom in the amount of not less than $100,000

- Proof of payment for accommodation and RT-PCR testing by specifying a period of stay of not less than 14 days in a hotel or accommodation which has been registered according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Tourism of Thailand. For the case where the traveller has been staying in the Kingdom for less than 14 days, a ticket of the airline specifying the duration of departure from the Kingdom shall be provided. Proof of payment for accommodation and the detection value by RT-PCR method during that time.

- Documents or evidence certifying vaccination (Certificate of Vaccination) has been completed in accordance with the criteria prescribed by the vaccine manufacturer, which must be a vaccine that has been registered under the law for medicines or certified by the World Health Organization or as prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health, for not less than 14 days before departure

For persons under 18 years of age who are not eligible for vaccination and traveling with a parent or guardian must have a medical certificate Medical Certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected by RT-PCR method up to 72 hours prior to travel.

 

3) Screening for respiratory symptoms and checking for fever at the international port of entry and exit of the country/area of ​​origin.

1) Symptomatic screening measures and immigration formalities

   1.1) In the case of entering the Kingdom by an airline that has a direct flight to an international airport located in a tourism pilot province, [the traveller will be] screened for respiratory symptoms and checked for fever and will submit documents to the competent official or the communicable disease control officer including carrying out immigration formalities at the international entrances and exits before [being approved for] entering the Kingdom.

   1.2) In the case of entering the Kingdom by an airline that does not have a direct flight and must travel by air to the airport located in the area tourism pilot province, the traveller shall perform one of the following actions before entering the Kingdom:

  1. Screened for respiratory symptoms and checked for fever and submit documents to the competent official or communicable disease control officer, including the immigration formalities, at the first international entry and exit point that provides entry into the Kingdom before continuing to the airport of destination that is [located in] a pilot province for tourism [in Thailand].
  2. Screened for respiratory symptoms and checked for fever and submit documents to the competent official or communicable disease control officer, including conducting immigration formalities, at the international port of entry or in the area of ​​the airport of destination that is a tourism pilot province. 

2) Use a tracking system or install applications as specified by the government, by enabling such tracking system to be on all the time, to monitor for symptoms [of infection] during the traveller’s stay in the tourism pilot province

3) To depart from the airport to a hotel or accommodation by a specially arranged vehicle. without stopping or stopping at any place before arriving at the hotel or accommodation

4) To have a COVID-19 test by RT-PCR method at the place specified by the government. The traveller is responsible for the expenses according to the following criteria:

   4.1) To have a test for COVID-19 by RT-PCR method one time upon arrival in the Kingdom. It is forbidden to travel outside the hotel or accommodation until there is a test confirming that there is no COVID-19 infection.

   4.2) To be tested for COVID-19 by RT-PCR method in addition to item 4.1) as follows:

  1. In the case of staying in the Kingdom for not more than 7 days, a second infection test shall be conducted between days 6-7 of the period of stay or as prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health.
  2. In the case of staying in the Kingdom for a period of 10-14 days, the second test is between the 6th-7th day and the third time between the 12th-13th day of the period of stay, or as required by the Ministry of Public Health.

In the event that a traveller is found to be infected with COVID-19, the hotel or accommodation will coordinate the transfer of the traveller to a medical facility. Contract parties in accordance with the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health or the government will urgently provide further examination or treatment where the traveller is responsible for all medical expenses or in accordance with an agreement on expenses between the hotel or accommodation and the traveller.

5) In the case of a traveller who leaves a hotel or a place of residence after the result of a test that has confirmed that there is no COVID-19 disease, the traveller must report on his return to the hotel or accommodation every day according in accordance with the orders of the Communicable Disease Control Officer or as prescribed by the Communicable Disease Control Officer. It is forbidden to stay overnight in a place other than the hotel or accommodation that has been specified, and [the traveller must] comply with public health measures prescribed by the government strictly at all times while staying in the pilot province for tourism.

6) In the case of a traveller staying in a tourism pilot province for less than 14 days, the traveller is strictly prohibited from leaving the tourism pilot province, and upon the expiration of the said period for travellers is to leave the Kingdom immediately.

7) In the case that a traveller has been staying in a tourism pilot province for at least 14 days, he/she is allowed to travel outside of the tourism pilot province after the expiration of the said period.

Measures before leaving the Kingdom or traveling outside the pilot province for tourism to other provinces within the Kingdom

   - Must be tested for COVID-19 by RT-PCR method in the case of destination country/area. The traveller is responsible for the expenses.

   - In the case of a traveller leaving the area of ​​a tourism pilot province to another province within the Kingdom, the traveller must show proof of residence in the pilot province for tourism together with evidence of COVID-19 test results by RT-PCR method according to Article 4.2) B. to employees, officers or communicable disease control officers of the origin province and destination province according to the rules or guidelines prescribed by the government.

The order noted that people were encouraged to support and encourage the use of the policy by companies registered in Thailand under the supervision and certification from the Office of the Insurance Commission. The insurance policy must cover healthcare expenses and medical treatment in case of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.

The order also noted that travellers who arrive between 00.01am and 6:00pm will have their date of arrival considered as Day 1 of their stay.

For travellers who arrive between 6.01pm and midnight (00:00am), their official period of stay will not start until the following day.




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nathalievandenbroucke | 05 July 2021 - 20:23:08

Dear, you're the only website where I read something about non-direct flights into Phuket. Our flights have a stopover in Bangkok (with immediate transfer to Phuket 2.5 hours later, we're not leaving the airport) and on most websites I read this isn't allowed. But you give me hope. Any news on allowing this (stopover in BKK) any time soon? We plan to travel beginning of August.

Richardbarnes1@gmail.com | 05 July 2021 - 16:11:17

Are you able to use phuket sandbox for returning expat on OA visa instead of BKK asq? That is fly out, return via phuket, do 14 days, then go to your home province indefinitely? 

Svcoquette | 01 July 2021 - 11:58:41

Skytrooper, also do not take rip-off taxi from airport, book airport transfer or taxi on line, 500-600 baht to most places on the island, about 1/2 the cost of the airport taxis. 

Kurt | 01 July 2021 - 10:30:11

@skytrooper, some hotels let you secretly stay at friends place at night as long you show up during the compulsory test days. Don't rent car at airport upon arrival. You can rent yourself anywhere on Phuket for 6500-8500 thb for 1 month. Car rentals are desperate for customers. Lot's of discounts.

skytrooper70 | 30 June 2021 - 23:18:56

No mention of the time for reporting back to hotel, for overnight. Is it left up to the hotel? Also, no mention of transport around island, after arrival at hotel. Are rental cars available?

Christy Sweet | 30 June 2021 - 19:06:16

I want a T shirt in Thai;  "Please Don't Call Me Whitey"  

DeKaaskopp | 30 June 2021 - 14:22:47

@ Dave_C    Same as  those fearmongers on here.

CaptainJack69 | 30 June 2021 - 13:36:28

"they must come back to stay in the hotel ‒ even if they have their own house in Phuket"

Madness confirmed.  This whole thing is just bonkers. You'd think if they don't want people coming they should just say so, but then 'you' aren't Thai 'they' are.

Kurt | 30 June 2021 - 11:24:20

If all this written in this article is now cut in stone ( Royal Gazette) than Thailand is starting up a very quiet period of time in her foreign tourist frame work happening. May expect some foreign airlines starting tomorrow flying on Phuket soon terminate that service again. It is simply not worth to 'serve' Phuket sand box.

Dave_C | 30 June 2021 - 11:00:34

In other words they really don't want them to come.

Fascinated | 30 June 2021 - 10:59:58

I'm thinking of getting  'I am not a tourist, I live here' t-shirts printed in Thai. I'm revising the anticipated arrivals tomorrow down from 300 to 200- its a recipe for disaster.

 

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