"Thailand resumes quarantine-free travel from Feb 1" Not true

3 replies

TimHughes

Member since 25 Oct 2010

Total posts 14

HI All. You need to fix this headline. The new Thai rules require the following to enter the country

Day 1 - you have to go to your hotel, stay in the hotel, do not leave the hotel, until after you receive a clear test. For most travellers and for 100% of those flying in from Australia (because of the timing), that will mean staying in the hotel over night. A forced stay in a hotel overnight = quarantine.

Day 5- you have to go for a second test, return to a hotel, and stay in that hotel until your test result is received. Unclear exactly how it works but in many circumstances will involve being forced to stay over night in a hotel. Forced stay in a hotel overnight = quarantine.

It is good to see Thailand opening up (ish) but it is incorrect to say "Quarantine Free Entry"

blaird

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 01 Aug 2013

Total posts 25

If you have an issue with the rules don't travel there, this is still better than 14 days hotels quarantine on arrival in my opinion. You also have the choice of multiple sandboxes to go to if you want to travel to Thailand. Anyone who has travelled to Thailand know they have some weird and mindblowing rules at times, but that's Thailand.


I was booked to travel to Bangkok but re scheduled due to Omricon, I had a test and go package booked and paid for to arrive in the evening and be taken to a drive through hospital testing site on the way to the hotel, which I preferred than waiting for the on site tests to happen the next day and be stuck in the room all day possibly. I was also given the choice of paying an extra 1500 baht for guaranteed results back within 4 hours which I was happy to pay to be free the next morning.

TimHughes

Member since 25 Oct 2010

Total posts 14

Hi Blaird. My comment was not about whether or not the rules are good or bad or silly (though I definitely think they are bad and silly). Instead my comment was about the PR spin and headline being wrong. It is factually incorrect to say "quarantine free" when describing travel to Thailand. Even in the sandbox you are compelled to stay locked in a hotel room until results come out.

Yes, it is better than going to Hong Kong.. Yes, it is better than when BKK had full 7 or 14 day quarantines. Yes, it is better than when Oz had 14 or 72 hour quarantines. But it is still being forced to stay overnight in a place with no freedom of movement....ie a quarantine. Headline needs to more accurate.

TheFreqFlyer

Member since 05 Oct 2017

Total posts 76

@blaird, Thailand really has invoked their authoritarian muscle in a way I never thought possible pre-Covid, even though the way certain things are done in Thailand has always confused me. Anyone who knows Thailand will understand what I'm talking about. Most laws are mere suggestions and almost never enforced. Ignore fear mongering warnings from reality shows such as "The Embassy" suggesting Thailand takes laws like drink driving seriously. It doesn't. You can almost always pay a bribe (usually not even that much is needed, perhaps A$50-60) and get off scot free. Traffic laws simply aren't enforced. If you get a speeding ticket (which are now mailed to the registered car owner's address) and don't pay it, nothing happens. It's not like in Australia where the state can seize your assets, eventually put a lean on your home or even imprison you (in the case of serial offenders) for non-payment of traffic fines. I have a Thai friend who has amassed at least 20 speeding tickets over the course of one year and he's able to renew his car registration and there is zero enforcement action.

However, Thais are hypochondriacs, so telling them to wear masks almost continuously since March 26, 2020 in all public areas (including outdoors) has barely met with any opposition at all. Even babies are being masked, sometimes families of 5 ride motorcycles, with everyone (or nearly everyone) masked but not wearing a helmet. That's Thai logic for you.

Therefore, the strict enforcement of entry regulations and fairly strict domestic regulations on the ground come somewhat as a surprise to those that have known Thailand since pre-Covid days. Strip beneath the surface and you'll find that mask wearing aside, domestic restrictions have been more relaxed than in Australia throughout the pandemic. Aside from an initial 2-3 month entry ban on foreigners and strict entry conditions for Thais, no one has been prevented from leaving the country, while only entry has been a bit cumbersome. Mask wearing is mostly self-enforced - you don't necessarily have police officers going around ensuring people follow the rules, other than in a couple of tourist areas popular with foreigners (mainly Phuket, Pattaya and maybe Koh Samui/Koh Phangan).

I agree though that this "quarantine free entry" moniker is PR hype. Thailand does not offer quarantine free entry at this time regardless of vaccination status and has not, since early April 2020, when the flight ban came into effect on April 4, 2020. Right now the vaccinated can choose between a sandbox 7 night stay in a specific province, with the first few hours (or first night) spent in your room waiting for your test result and again on day 6 I think it is, when the second test is done. For the "test and go, then come back and go again" scheme, you book a hotel for days 1 and 5 and must stay in your room both times. Might make more sense just to book 5 nights in a hotel and get it over and done with. During days 2-4, limit movements and prepare for the day 5 test. For the unvaccinated, it's a 10 day quarantine, which is at least better than Australia's 14 day quarantine on the unvaccinated, something that Europe/UK and North America don't do. Even Canada now only imposes a short home quarantine for the unvaccinated.

So to conclude, Thailand offers a truncated quarantine for the vaccinated, not quarantine-free entry. There are also far more positives registered from "test and go" arrivals than from the now much smaller cohort of quarantine arrivals (mainly unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals). The issue of what happens when you test positive for Covid as a traveller to Thailand warrants its own discussion, as it's basically a nightmare. Like in most Asian countries (Japan is probably an exception), even the asymptomatic must be isolated at a facility, whether that's a hospital, hospitel (hotel in an arrangement with a hospital) or just a hotel, you are not allowed to do home quarantine.

Home quarantine is however now an option if you meet certain criteria, in certain provinces, for those considered to "domestic persons", which is anyone who has been in Thailand since before Covid started or has cleared the entry hurdles and is now on the same footing as people who are already in the country.

In other words, Thailand prefers to make life difficult for incoming arrivals from abroad over domestic persons.

Last editedby TheFreqFlyer at Jan 30, 2022, 01:44 AM.

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