Thailand to start treating Covid like the flu from October

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In a new development that even the most optimistic didn’t see coming, Thailand will overtake the vast majority of Asia, and even the Western Hemisphere, in treating Covid as an endemic disease. Starting at October, once ultra-strict country will downgrade pathogen to same category as flu viruseffectively treating both equally.

Tourists look happy as they explore Thailand, Southeast Asia

After more than two years of enforcing strict regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, Thailand has gradually relaxed its stance this year, dropping the controversial Thailand Pass, which was seen as an obstacle for most foreign visitors, and canceling all mask requirements. Now, it will be another big step forward in restoring normality.

Here’s everything you need to know about Thailand’s Covid reclassification and what it means for tourists:

Thailand is on the verge of a full return to normalcy

Young female tourist in Thailand, Southeast Asia

Unlike other popular tourist hotspots, like Germany and Cyprus, which recently turned around and tightened pandemic rules yet again, Thailand is going a different way regardless of the rise of new sub-variants of Omicron. You might be wondering why, considering it was among the most conservative Asian states not too long ago.

In sum, the Ministry of Public Health, responsible for the anti-Covid response, finally acknowledged that the situation had begun to “stabilize” and that the virus, although still “dangerous”, no longer justifies the state of emergency. Interestingly, cases in Thailand have remained stable while other neighboring countries have seen new spikes.

Thai locals wearing masks against Covid in Phuket, Thailand

According to data shared by Worldometers, the rolling average of new reported cases is 2,190 for the 7-day period ending and preceding August 11 – rabout the same as a month ago on July 11, when the moving average was 2,134. There was a slight increase, yes, but it did not strain the local health sector, nor lead to an increase in deaths.

For this reason, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, a central figure in Thai politics during the pandemic years, confirmed that Covid would join other viruses such as influenza, responsible for influenza, and dengue fever, responsible for dengue, on a list of communicable diseases. this just need “monitoring”.

Young female traveler with a backpack and a hat exploring the streets of Bangkok, Thailand

Visiting Thailand is the easiest since 2020

This will happen as early as October, and ‘reflect reality‘ of the pandemic in Thailand, according to Charnvirakul himself. Previously, Thailand had resorted to numerous lockdowns and social restrictions to keep the virus under control, going so far as to ban the entry of foreigners to many destinations in a bid to prevent the entry of new variants.

View of the city of Bangkok in Thailand, Southeast Asia

Until recently, tourists were also subject to strict vaccination, testing and isolation mandates, as well as Thailand’s infamously confusing quarantine entry schedules. Although it has yet to emulate Mexico, or even its Asian partner, Vietnam, in fully the removal of entry conditions, visiting Thailand is now the easiest since 2020.

Essentially, foreigners must provide one of the following documents to qualify for quarantine-free entry:

  • An active vaccination certificate, or
  • A negative Covid test (RT-PCR or Lateral Flow) within 72 hours of boarding their flight
Maya Bay in Thailand, Southeast Asia

Is Covid finally taking a back seat?

By effectively declaring the disease as endemic, as it had previously stated, Thailand is reaffirming itself as a tourist-friendly destination and completely changing its Covid strategy. Not our words, those of the Minister of Health: he believes that it is now it’s up to the public to take care of their own healthinstead of being closely monitored by the national government.

Young female tourists exploring the Grand Palace Wat Phra Keaw in Thailand, Southeast Asia

In his statement, the minister lists the “preparedness” of Thailand’s healthcare system, as well as access to treatment, as reasons why Covid is no longer as disruptive as it once was. Prior to this update, the virus had shared the same status as plague and smallpoxtwo other conditions that actually threaten lives and the functioning of society.

Indeed, monkeypox, an entity closely related to the latter, has been doing the rounds lately and has prompted many destinations, and even the World Health Organization, to sound the alarm. As new, more pressing issues facing travelersincluding new health issues, Covid finally seems to be taking a back seat.

In Thailand, it will be official from this fall.

Read more:

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Top 5 off-the-beaten-track places to travel in Thailand in 2022

Nonstop flights from North America to Thailand return after 10 years

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