Omicron cases: Thailand restricts direct entry, Indians can only travel via Phuket

Omicron variant: Thailand has altered entry rules for Indian travellers entering the Southeast Asian country from different entry points, except for Phuket, citing concerns about the potential spread of the omicron variant by arriving tourists.
Artists perform with an elephant in an ancient war re-enactment during the Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair to mark the 30th anniversary of UNESCO recognizing the ancient city as a World Heritage site, in Ayutthaya, Thailand (REUTERS)
Artists perform with an elephant in an ancient war re-enactment during the Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair to mark the 30th anniversary of UNESCO recognizing the ancient city as a World Heritage site, in Ayutthaya, Thailand (REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 02:05 PM IST
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ByNeha LM Tripathi

NEW DELHI: After Singapore, Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) ordered a temporary suspension of the Thailand pass for all new ‘test and go’ and Sandbox applications from 22 December 2021, citing the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the country.

Sandbox plan is a new model that allows travellers who are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand without quarantine. However, due to these new restrictions, travellers will be able to travel to Thailand only via Phuket.

Since Phuket has not yet imposed restrictions, it will be open for Indian travellers under the Phuket Sandbox scheme.

Under this scheme, travellers will only need to do a PCR test and wait in the hotel until the result is received. If test negative, they will be able to move around in Phuket. The second RT PCR test will be done on the fifth or the sixth day after which they can travel to other parts of Thailand on completing seven days of stay in Phuket (no quarantine required), or can return to their home country within seven days.

“Flights to Phuket from India will be from Delhi by MakeMyTrip. If one plans to arrive in Phuket, then he/ she will have to select Phuket ‘Sans Box’. After seven days in Phuket, one can go to other destinations in Thailand” read a statement from the spokesperson.

Cholada Siddhivarn, director, Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “We are happy to welcome Indians to Thailand. However, we have just altered the entry rules for people entering our country from different entry points except for Phuket. The step comes in after the rise in new variant cases. We believe it is better to take necessary precautions while we still are ready to welcome travellers from different parts of the world.

She further added, “Travellers wanting to travel to Phuket can register for Thailand Pass under the Phuket Sandbox program and Happy Quarantine.” The process of quarantine at government-approved AQ hotels in Thailand at the traveller’s own expense.

Singapore too has imposed restrictions on air travel and said that airlines will not be allowed to sell new flight tickets for travel to the country from December 23 until January 20, 2022. However, eligible travellers who earlier bought tickets will still be allowed to travel via the quarantine-free travel scheme: Vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme allows fully vaccinated travellers from selected countries to enter Singapore without being quarantined.

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Saturday, January 22, 2022