Thailand was one of the Asian countries to reopen relatively early after COVID. They started allowing visitors to Phuket last summer. However, when Omicron hit last winter, the country closed up shop to tourism again.
In February 2022, they tried again. Fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S. were allowed to visit Thailand without quarantine as long as they tested for COVID on the first and fifth days of their trip (and isolated in a government-approved hotel during those 2 days) and had negative results.
And now, things have gotten even easier for would-be visitors to Thailand. Effective July 1st, they have removed virtually all of their rules regarding proof of vaccinations.
If you’re vaccinated
Vaccinated travelers can enter Thailand as long as they show their proof of full vaccination and their valid passports upon entry. Young travelers, age 5 to 17, can enter with at least one dose of a vaccination administered at least two weeks before their entry date.
If you’re unvaccinated
Unvaccinated travelers can enter with a valid passport and a recent negative RT-PCR test or a medically administered ATK test taken within 72 hours of travel.
“Our country has been battered by this pandemic for so long,” said Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn in a statement just before the entry requirement changed. “It’s time to make a full attempt to restore our economic growth with tourism.”
If you go
Effective June 23, nearly all COVID restrictions have been removed from Thailand.
Outdoor mask-wearing is now only on a voluntary basis. However, the public is still advised to wear a face mask in crowded places, i.e. public transport, markets, and concert venues, or for people with certain health conditions.
Restaurants are allowed to serve dine-in customers alcoholic beverages (in accordance with applicable laws). Entertainment venues such as pubs, bars and karaoke lounges are also allowed to operate within applicable laws, if they’ve been certified with the Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus by the Ministry of Public Health.
U.S. citizens can submit their applications for stickerless e-visas to enter Thailand at https://www.thaievisa.go.th/.
China has been one of the most stringent countries about COVID. Even now, even though they’re only having between 100 and 500 new cases per day, lockdowns of certain regions still happen. And, of course, they’re still not letting people in for tourism.
As of right now, the only way you can enter China is if you:
- Hold a valid Chinese residence permit for work, personal matters, or reunion
- Hold a diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visa
- Apply for a new China visa (the previous visa will not be cancelled); Z-, M-, R-, Q-, and S-visas now are possible
However, things have improved oh so slightly. Those Q- and S- visas are new, just since June 20th. And, as per Reuters, since July 1st:
- Travelers from the U.S. no longer need an RT-PCR test 7 days before flying to China (they’ll still need to do two RT-PCR tests within 48 or 24 hours of their flights – depending on which airport they are flying out of – plus another pre-flight antigen test)
- Requirements for antibody tests are also now gone
- Time in quarantine facilities upon arrival has been halved, from 14 days to 7 (it’s been 21 days in the past)
Before you think this is a baby step towards allowing international tourism, Chinese officials said, in so many words, not to get your hopes up for the country reopening anytime soon (whomp whomp). This newest decision was based solely on the shorter incubation period of the omicron variant.
The new rules are designed to optimize the country’s prevention and control work, and don’t signal a change in course, said Lei Zhenglong, an NHC official.
“China’s virus situation has gradually stabilized in the past month, despite earlier outbreaks that hit the eastern coastal region, providing a window to optimize and adjust the Covid protocol,” Lei said at an afternoon briefing, as per Bloomberg.
“It’s absolutely not loosening up, but a more scientific and targeted approach,” he continued.
Feature Image: public domain
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