On Saturday, March 14, the Tourism Authority of Thailand announced additional measures for travelers entering Thailand due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Foreign travelers from territories the government considers highly affected, including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Iran and South Korea will be required to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Thailand and will need to present a health certificate certifying that they have no risk of COVID-19 prior to issuance of boarding passes. Upon arrival in Thailand, travelers will need to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine at their accommodation. Throughout the quarantine period, travelers must report their - if any - symptoms to the Ministry of Public Health's (MOPH) reporting system, and their conditions will be closely monitored. Additionally, travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission of the virus, including Japan, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the UK and the US, will be under observation without quarantine for no less than 14 days. Travelers from the aforementioned countries will also be required to monitor and record their symptoms in the MOPH's reporting system. Travelers from all other destinations will undergo the usual entry and exit screening measures, and are advised to avoid crowded places, stay away from individuals with respiratory symptoms, consume cooked food, wash hands, and wear cloth masks to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Previously on Wednesday, March 11, the Thai government announced that it will suspend Visa on Arrival (VOA) for nationals of 19 countries, including Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu to limit the spread of coronavirus.
As of Sunday, March 15, the Ministry of Public Health has confirmed 114 cases of the virus nationwide, including one fatality and 37 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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 quarantining 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 labored 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.