Fresh news coming from Thailand today as a meeting of government officials including the Covid Situation Council concluded that from December 16, 2021 the requirement of a RT-PCR Test upon arrival would be replaced by an ATK Fast Test.
We will have to wait and see about the exact information and wording once the new regulation appears in the Royal Gazette to become law.
Additionally to this, Sandbox participants will only require a hotel booking for 5 days. The sandbox booking requirement was reduced from the original 14 to 7 and now 5 nights. This is a rather palatable change for those interested in the Sandbox program as not all countries qualify for the “Test&Go” quick test entry which is currently requiring a PCR test upon arrival and one night at a SHA+ hotel.
According to the government spokesperson, a hotel overnight at a designated SHA+ hotel isn’t necessary anymore.
The following graphic was retweeted by Richard Barrow:
This graphic displaying entry rules says it starts from 16th December, but the spokesperson and government ministers said from 1st December. What is valid? Who knows. This is once again a game of wait and see as so often in Thailand.
UPDATE: The spokesperson has clarified that he misspoke and that December 16, 2021 is indeed the correct date when the new regulations come into effect.
Here is the video of the important announcement:
What is strange to me is why do people need to take transportation to a HOTEL is in fact the hotel room upon arrival is no longer necessary? Why turn hotels into testing centers for the ATK Tests?
Furthermore, while the ATK test will result in a significantly cheaper process keep in mind that these are also more unreliable than RT-PCR tests. On a positive note, the ATK don’t pick up Covid as easily as an RT-PCR like infections that are weeks or months old.
Keep in mind that one RT-PCR test is still required prior to departure in order to board the plane so that’s still a hurdle to take.
There are also some changes in regards to the Thailand Pass application.
Passengers arriving after December 15th will have to wait with their application until after December 1st, 2021 which was likely put in place to adopt these new requirements.
If you have an arrival scheduled during this time and already made arrangements such as a rebooked hotel package I’d check the exact cancellation policy. Despite being prepaid there are often cancellation terms that allow to cancel or amend the booking, especially when rule changes are involved.
Travelers bound for Thailand will soon have it a bit easier to enter the country and also face less costs related to this process as the government has announced they would forego the RT-PCR tests in favor of the faster and cheaper ATK quick test.
These tests will apparently still be administered at various hotels to which the traveler is still required to book a transportation option despite not necessarily having to stay there. Why they wouldn’t just do this at the airport is anyone’s guess. The Sandbox time has in the meanwhile been reduced to 5 days only. This should soon be reflected in the Thailand Pass application as well.