Bangkok, 21 Dec (ONA) --- Thailand today decided to immediately reimpose a mandatory quarantine for visitors and suspend a “test-and-go” scheme for fully vaccinated arrivals as concerns grow over the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the government said.
The decision is a blow to efforts to revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector ahead of the peak holiday season.
The decision came after Thailand recorded its first case of domestic transmission of the omicron variant last week, when a returning resident tested negative on arrival, but later tested positive and infected members of his family. The few other positive cases were all caught after testing on arrival and quarantined.
Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia eased entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers in November in an effort to kickstart tourism, a major revenue earner that collapsed with the start of the pandemic. But with the exception of Thailand, few have attracted the return of many foreign visitors due to complex entry requirements.
Thailand shut its borders to most foreign visitors in April 2020 after local transmission of the coronavirus started to climb. Foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 were almost 40 million, but plunged to 6.7 million in 2020, with most of those visitors coming in the first quarter, the Associated Press (AP) news reported.