Thailand Does A U-Turn On Its COVID-19 Rule As Showing Vax Proof Would Be Cumbersome
Thailand has withdrawn its COVID-19 vaccination rule just two days after its announcement that international travellers are required to show proof of vaccination when entering the country
Unvaccinated visitors are now also allowed to enter the country without restriction. However, medical insurance is still a requirement if a traveller's next destination requires a pre-entry COVID-19 test.
On 9 January, its Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the new rule of checking vaccination proofs was inconvenient and a panel of health experts had agreed to withdraw it.
"Showing proof of vaccination would be cumbersome and inconvenient, and so the group's decision is that it is unnecessary," Anutin told reporters, according to Reuters.
The now scrapped rule stated that all international travellers had to show proof of at least two COVID-19 vaccinations or a doctor's note of exemption, or evidence of a recent recovery
The rule had been reinstated on Saturday, 7 January, as China reopened its borders following the easing of its zero-COVID policy.
According to Reuters, around 3,465 international travellers had arrived in Thailand on Monday, 9 January.
Anutin added that Thailand expects approximately seven to 10 million visitors from China this year, as opposed to five million pre-pandemic.
The country relies heavily on tourism, especially visitors from China
In 2022, more than 11 million tourists entered the country — a number that is still lower than the figures before the pandemic. However, it contributed to a 2.4% year-on-year rise in Thailand's GDP in the first half of the year, according to a report by VOA News.