World News | Amid Omicron Variants Concerns, Thailand Suspends Non-Quarantine Travel Pass
Bangkok [Thailand], Dec. 22 (ANI): Thailand suspended the no-quarantine pass on Wednesday over concerns over the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.
From December 22 at midnight, no new quarantine exemption requests under the Thailand Pass program will be considered. The government said it was a temporary suspension rather than a permanent ban, but there is no date yet for the suspension to be lifted, CNN reported.
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Thailand reported its first Omicron case on December 6 and decided to change its travel policies soon after.
The Thailand Pass has been one of the Southeast Asian country’s major initiatives towards reopening to travel. Tourism is one of Thailand’s biggest industries, with nearly 40 million visitors in 2019, CNN reported.
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Under the conditions of the Thailand Pass, fully vaccinated people hoping to visit a low-risk country could request to bypass the quarantine upon arrival.
The pass, which was part of the “Test & Go program”, started on November 1st.
According to a Thai government press release, 200,000 people have so far applied for the pass, which comes with a QR code for phones allowing them to travel freely around the country and enter restaurants, attractions, shops. and other public places, CNN reported.
Travelers who have already applied and have been approved will not be affected by the new regulations. However, if they have not yet entered Thailand, they will now have to take two PCR tests after arriving, including one at a government facility.
Now travelers to Thailand – except those participating in the Phuket Sandbox program – will be subject to a quarantine of seven to 10 days, depending on their country of origin, CNN reported.
Thailand has also announced that it will expand the national contact tracing program, but has yet to release details on how this will happen.
Those who have applied for the Thailand Pass but have not yet been approved can also continue as normal once they have received a response to their request.
The Omicron variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa in November. It is now the dominant strain of new infections in the United States. (ANI)
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