Thailand’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), during its meeting chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on 21 December 2021, has decided to temporarily close registration for travelers wishing to enter Thailand under the Test and Go quarantine exemption scheme and the Sandbox entry scheme, with the exception of Phuket Sandbox. The temporary closure of “Thailand Pass” for all new Test and Go and Sandbox applications started from 00.00 hr on 22 December 2021 until further notice.
This is applicable to all countries including the 63 countries which are listed under the low-risk countries and territories that are earlier permitted to enter Thailand without the quarantine requirement. Thailand had opened up for tourism under the Test & Go Schemes and Sandbox schemes on 1 November 2021.
As per the announcement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following new guidelines has been implemented with immediate effect:
- Applicants who have received their Thailand Pass QR Code can enter Thailand under the scheme they have registered.
- Applicants who have registered but have not received their QR Code must wait for their Thailand Pass to be considered / approved. Once approved, they can enter Thailand under the scheme they have registered.
- New applicants will not be able to register for Test and Go and Sandbox measures (except Phuket Sandbox). Thailand Pass will only accept new applicants seeking to enter Thailand under Alternative Quarantine (AQ) or Phuket Sandbox only.
- Passengers who will arrive in Thailand under Test and Go and Sandbox Program must undergo their second COVID-19 test using the RT-PCR technique (not ATK self-test) at government-designated facilities (no additional cost).
The decision to suspend Test & Go scheme and Sandbox scheme (except Phuket sandbox) temporarily is aimed at containing possible spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant. As per the Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand has detected 60 cases of Omicron variant and another 97 suspected cases are pending for confirmation (as of 21 December).
On 20 December 2021, the first locally transmitted case was found in a Thai woman who tested positive to Omicron variant after contracting the virus from her husband, a Colombian who returned to Thailand from Nigeria in late November.