On Friday, April 3, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced a temporary ban on all incoming passenger flights from 00:01 (local time) on Saturday, April 4, until 23:59 on Monday, April 6, to curb the spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Individuals arriving on flights that took off before the order came into effect will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Thailand. Exceptions will be made for state, military, and cargo aircraft, humanitarian aid, medical, repatriation, and relief flights, and emergency and technical landings. As of Friday, an earlier ban on the entry of foreign non-resident nationals into Thailand remains in place.
This decision comes one day after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asked all Thai citizens seeking to return home from abroad to delay their travel until after Wednesday, April 15. Additionally, Prime Minister Chan-o-cha announced that an indefinite nationwide curfew will come into effect on April 3. As such, all individuals are prohibited from leaving their residence between 22:00 and 04:00. Transport of goods, fuel, medicines, and medical supplies, and the movement of patients and medical personnel are exempt from the ban.
As of April 3, there have been 1978 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Thailand, including 19 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.