The weekly situation meeting of Thai government officials has resulted in a decision to discontinue the mandatory PCR Tests for Thailand-bound travelers effective April 1, 2022.
However, the requirement to conduct a PCR test at a hospital upon arrival will remain in place and render this easement quite useless as it would be rather risky for anyone to fly to Thailand without testing even on a voluntary basis.
Visitors to Thailand were required to present a PCR Test in order to be eligible to board a flight to the Kingdom which often created a lot of hassle, expense and proved to be difficult depending on where the traveler resides.
It’s often quite hard to turn around a test like this in a short amount of time when long-distance travel to the airport is involved.
The Bangkok Post just reported that this measure is now off the table:
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday resolved to discontinue the requirement that visitors pass a pre-travel Covid-19 test, from April 1, but testing on arrival will continue.
The change in procedure was announced by CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin.
He said the requirement for pre-travel tests would end for all visitors, whether arriving by Test & Go, Sandbox or quarantine channels.
People who enter the country through Test & Go or Sandbox programmes would be given an RT-PCR test on arrival, and be required to perform an antigen self-test on day 5 after arrival, monitored at their hotel.
Sandbox visitors would remain in their reception areas for five days. Visitors in the quarantine scheme, including people caught sneaking in, would be kept in isolation for five days and have an RT-PCR test on day 4 or 5 after arrival.
The CCSA would continue to require visitors to have Covid-19 insurance coverage of at least US$20,000 but was likely to reduce it later, Dr Taweesilp said. …
The prospect of a reduction of the insurance requirement sometime in the future is really of no consequence as it will have very little (if any) impact on the premium of the insurance.
Eliminating the mandatory PCR pre-departure test is making things cheaper and easier but it will also increase the risk of testing positive upon arrival in Thailand and then being forced into an expensive quarantine which your insurance provider might or might not cover depending on if you develop symptoms or not.
I would feel a lot safer when I had a test done before departure to at least know I’m negative rather than finding this out to my detriment once arriving in Thailand.
John had that experience recently as he was about to fly to Thailand and suddenly his tests from two different countries returned positive.
Even though he was feeling totally fine he obviously had to cancel his trip. Now imagine this happens when you arrived in Thailand. Game over!
I have documented my experience entering Thailand under the previous conditions :
And the follow-up PCR Test at a designated hospital without any quarantine requirement :
When I went through this process I was positively surprised about the efficiency and ease of the steps required from arrival to eventual release from the scheme following the second test which has since been scrapped as well and replaced with an unsupervised rapid test.
It would have made a lot more sense to keep the PCR pre-flight test in place and instead scrap the test on arrival like Vietnam did it. This new system also increases the risk exponentially that you sit next to someone on the plane who is positive and later on you’ll be dragged down with that person as a “close contact”. I’m really not a fan of this solution. At all!
Another proposal for May (assuming things go smooth until then) was that the current PCT Arrival test will be changed to a self-administered ATK test likely performed at the hotel. This will be decided over sometime in April and a lot can happen in six weeks as we all know by now.
Those travelers who aren’t fully vaccinated under what Thailand considers it to be (no booster shots needed right now) will still have to undergo quarantine but this has now been reduced to five days.
As always, these changes need to be published in the official register (Royal Gazette) before it becomes law.
Effective April 1, 2022 there will be no more PCR Test required for flights to or via Thailand. Travelers who enter the kingdom under the Sandbox or Test&Go scheme will still be subject to the mandatory, costly on arrival test that could go either way with this new situation.
Personally, I’ll do at least a rapid antigen test either self-administered or through a lab before getting on a flight to Thailand to cover all bases. I don’t feel comfortable going into the unknown considering they still force you into isolation if testing positive upon arrival.