The Center for Covid-19 Situation (CCSA) is planning to consider canceling RT-PCR tests on arrival and replacing them with ATK tests among fully vaccinated visitors traveling from 63 low-risk countries as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at a general meeting yesterday, November 12th.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), revealed to the press prior to the meeting that the Department would propose the change from the RT-PCR test to the ATK test for foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated and traveled from 63 low-risk countries under the Test & Go program as well as ease the high-risk close contact (HRC) rules.
The proposal was aimed to shorten the time for the Covid-19 test results. According to the governor, the RT-PCR process of each arrival normally takes at least 6 hours which requires inbound travelers to book and stay in their SHA+ accommodation for at least 1 day in order to wait for the results. TPN media notes, however, that some people reported wait times of over 24 hours and that arrival times could vary greatly depending on arrival times and hotel/hospital used.
The TAT instead plans to introduce the use of an ATK test kit for all fully vaccinated arrivals from low-risk countries to shorten the process and be more convenient. However, approvals will be upon the decisions of the National Communicable Disease Control Board and the CCSA, chaired by the Prime Minister.
During the CCSA press briefing today, spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyuthin announced that the CCSA will be considering the matter as proposed by the TAT. The consideration will begin in December which may result in the official implementation in the same month.
The TAT had wanted the change immediately but Dr. Taweesilp insisted that it would take time to consider the request and that the CCSA needed to review more data regarding the decision. A change, however, would ease many visitors’ concerns about spending a required night in a mandatory SHA+ hotel and some fears of testing positive on arrival. The change would also allow those who arrive in the country to freedom to immediately go where they wished versus wait in a hotel for results.
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