Thailand considers waiving quarantine for vaccinated tourists


Photographer: Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Getty Images

Thailand may lift its mandatory two-week quarantine for foreign visitors with proof of Covid-19 vaccination as the Southeast Asian nation seeks to revive its pandemic-hit tourism industry.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said Tuesday that his government will consider allowing visitors who can present a vaccination certificate to bypass quarantine and that authorities will come up with a plan to track them during their stay in the country.

The plan to loosen the rules for tourists signals a shift in Thailand’s stance after months of insisting that all visitors must remain in quarantine in the absence of sufficient evidence that vaccines can prevent transmission of the virus. If implemented, the measure could boost Thailand’s tourism sector, which contributed about a fifth to the country’s pre-pandemic economy.

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“If this goes ahead as planned, it will be a huge boost for tourism and the economy,” said Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, an economist at the Kasikorn Research Center in Bangkok, adding that the government may also need to weigh health concerns. “There is still great uncertainty about the economic outlook for this year, pending all the problems related to the outbreak of local infections, the launch of vaccines and the plan to reopen the border.”

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