File photo: Couples ride elephants during a Valentine's Day celebration at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Chonburi province, Thailand. Picture: Reuters
File photo: Couples ride elephants during a Valentine's Day celebration at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Chonburi province, Thailand. Picture: Reuters

Thailand to cut quarantine period for incoming tourists

By IANS Time of article published Mar 19, 2021

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Bangkok - Thai authorities announced on Friday that the mandatory quarantine period for people entering the country will now be reduced to 10 days from two weeks in its latest effort to support the ailing tourism sector and economic recovery.

The relaxation, starting April 1, will not apply to visitors coming from countries with cases of coronavirus variant strains, according to the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

A CCSA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday also agreed that starting from October, visitors from countries with no known variants of the virus may not have to undergo quarantine.

The country is also considering cutting the quarantine period to seven days for vaccinated tourists starting next month, according to the CCSA.

On Friday, Thailand extended its emergency decree nationwide for the 11th time to the end of May as "inter-agency cooperation and integration" are still needed to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the country, the CCSA said.

A shorter quarantine is expected to help attract more foreign tourists to the country, where the sector accounts for more than 15 percent of the economy.

The sector is seen as a key to Thailand's economic recovery.

Thailand welcomed about 40 million foreign visitors in 2019, but only 6.7 million trickled in last year.

The Southeast Asia's second-largest economy contracted 6.1 per cent year on year last year in its sharpest decline since 1998.

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