Thailand put itself in turmoil last week after the Public Health Minister suddenly announced (read more here) that the country would only accept what would be considered fully vaccinated tourists from this week without providing any guidelines.
This past weekend there was information coming out of these new entry requirements that Sebastian covered in his articles (read more here and here). Thailand has again amended the entry requirements, and now those it doesn’t consider fully vaccinated are subject to testing at entry points.
Our Recent Thailand Coverage:
New Entry Requirements:
There are a few issues with the potential test at the point of entry for those whom Thailand doesn’t consider fully vaccinated:
1. Who checks the vaccination record and where?
2. How can Thai authorities identify those not considered fully vaccinated?
3. How this potential on-arrival testing can be conducted at the airport?
This new regulation simply won’t work with the current number of international arrivals to the country, although it is nowhere near what it was back in 2019.
It is impossible to have enough employees on hand at the airports where international flights land who check the vaccination and recovery records and potentially other documents of each arriving passenger and then guide those not vaccinated for additional tests.
How Thailand then handles the international arrivals who test positive at the initial test when the results can take hours to arrive? Will they intend to bring back the covid positive wards?
You can read my experience of entering Thailand using the Phuket Sandbox in 2021:
- Thailand Phuket Sandbox Experience – Worth It?
- Phuket Sandbox Arrival Experience
- Phuket Sandbox “Your registration/application for COE has been confirmed”
- Thailand Phuket Sandbox Application Completed
- Thailand Phuket Sandbox COE Amendment
- Singapore Transit Experience
And then in the spring of 2022, after I had to scrap my original plans earlier that year when I tested positive twice (pre-departure PCR-RT tests):
- Thailand Pass Test & Go Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Arrival Experience April 2022
- Thailand Pass Test & Go Application Success
All this recent mess happened because Thailand didn’t want to displease China and only require negative PCR-RT tests or vaccination records from mainland arrivals.
It is impossible for Thai airports to have implemented screening for all international arrivals as of this morning when this rule update was rolled out last night.
Also, can you imagine the hours-long lines when a few employees try to authenticate vaccination and other documents from all incoming passengers?
Thailand should have required either a pre-departure covid test or proof of vaccination and have airlines enforce these entry requirements.
They could also bring back the system used in 2021 and 2022, where incoming passengers were required to upload proof of vaccination and insurance that would be authenticated before arrival to Thailand. You were required to show approval to board the flight to Thailand.
All these last-minute changes will only make potential travelers to Thailand less likely to book because how can they be sure that there are no additional changes at the very last minute that would derail their vacations?