After an incident in which a group of 166 Thai National’s who had recently returned from Japan, Singapore and Qatar refused to enter quarantine, claiming they did not know about the new strict procedures in Thailand, including the overnight curfew which led to no taxi’s or bus transportation being available at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, the CAAT has officially banned all incoming passenger aircraft for three days.
The CAAT, The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, made the decision in partnership with Thai Government officials, including the Prime Minister, after the nearly four hour standoff last night.
The order was signed by the CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop and cites Sections 27 and 28 of the Air Navigation Act in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
The order will continue until 11:59 PM on April 6th. It does provide some exceptions for military aircraft, medical flights, emergency landings and cargo aircraft.
Last night’s standoff, which was widely shared and even streamed on social media in which furious passengers argued with airport, police and military authorities that they were not informed of the new rules and therefore they should not apply to them, ended after four hours at around 2:00AM Bangkok time.
Multiple buses were arranged to transport the passengers to quarantine centers set up in Sattahip, in Chonburi. The group will spend at least fourteen days there under strict health checks and screenings. However, some members of the group were reportedly let go instead of going to quarantine leading to government officials hunting for them today.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha had previously announced that all passengers, including Thai’s, were not allowed to fly into the country until April 15th to give Thailand time to organize additional quarantine centers for individuals arriving from overseas, which has been the source of the majority of the cases in the Kingdom. However, passengers who were previously cleared to arrive, such as the group last night, could still enter the country.
With the CAAT announcement, this “exception” for previously cleared individuals is now shut.