Thailand Opens Border To Four More Groups Of Foreigners Including PR, Work Permit, Elite Visa Holders

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has lifted its entry ban on four more groups of foreigners who can soon travel to Thailand again as part of the latest easement measures by the authorities.

Affected by this are Permanent Residents (including their spouse/children); foreigners with work permits (including their spouse/children), Thailand Elite Visa holders, and documented migrant workers from neighboring countries.

Tourism arrivals remain unavailable for the time being and any attempt to establish travel bubbles with seemingly “save” countries have fallen apart as most of them experienced a relapse in cases during the past weeks.

As Bangkok Post reported this morning the pillars for the next groups of eligible foreigners to re-enter the country are now set.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has lifted its entry ban on four groups of foreign nationals, in line with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

CAAT director Chula Sukmanop said the agency’s easing of travel restrictions for non-Thai nationals, which will take effect today, does not apply to ordinary tourists, but only to select groups of foreigners.

The four groups are

  • non-Thai nationals with a certificate of permanent residency, including their spouses and children;
  • non-Thai nationals with work permits, including their spouses and children;
  • non-Thai nationals permitted to enter under a special arrangement [incl Thailand Elite Visa], and
  • migrant workers whose employers are allowed to bring in workers.

According to Mr Chula, all incoming visitors are required to strictly observe the country’s disease-control measures.

To be allowed to enter Thailand, they must have a certificate of entry issued by a Thai embassy or consular office in their country, a health certificate showing they are free of Covid-19 and a health insurance policy. Upon arriving, they will be quarantined for 14 days at state venues or alternative locations. …

Thailand has kept their borders tightly shut for anyone except repatriated Thai nationals, although for the past few weeks it was already possible for those holding work permits and having family in Thailand to return to the Kingdom.

Thai citizens have the choice of a state quarantine facility paid for by the government or if they prefer a more comfortable accommodation to select the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) which has to be paid out of pocket. Foreigners can only select ASQ which ranges between 50,000-130,000 Baht depending on the level of the hotel, the most luxurious one currently available being the Anantara Siam (ex Four Seasons).

It’s unlikely that there will be any opening towards general tourism in the near future. There is no public or political appetite to open up the country again and exposing the population to the risk of imported Covid cases. The current situation shows that of those in state quarantine often test positive days, sometimes more than a week after their quarantine began (a Russian lady today tested positive after 13 days). This despite having produced “all clear” health certificates prior to arrival.

It’s therefore impossible to show any kind of secure mechanism that would justify letting short term visitors in without lengthy quarantine measures and who would voluntarily subject to that for the sake of a holiday? Unlikely that we see any tourism here until a vaccine has been made widely available and that most of all proved itself to be safe and working. This goes for many if not most countries and as much as I hate to say it considering we’ve now entered August the chances for any intercontinental even regional tourism in 2020 seem to vanish. I’m even concerned about my annual New Years trip to Japan.

Conclusion

It’s good that there is now a path for those with legitimate ties to Thailand to return to their homes, loved ones or workplaces. Writing this from Bangkok myself the situation here has been more or less normal with only minor changed compared to pre-Covid times. The public has generally been compliant with general hygiene and healthcare advisories including wearing masks in shared spaces and sanitizing hands.

Apart from that there is of course the economic outlook as to how much of an effect the Covid-19 situation will have not only on the economy overall but also the individuals in certain industries, especially the tourism sector. This week employees returned to work (unless they were let go previously) following a four months stretch of social security payments by the government. Now the owners and operators have to make ends meet again to the point of being able to make payroll and recover operating costs of their company/property. It’s tough to talk about making profits but many of the restaurants I usually frequent seem packed whenever I go.

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