Expats’ anger and dismay at dual pricing for rapid COVID-19 test in Phuket

The area at Phuket airport for foreigners to take a rapid COVID-19 test. Image: @pleunpit_Ch9

Expats in Thailand have spoken of their anger and dismay at Phuket’s policy of making foreigners pay for a rapid COVID-19 test, when the same test is free for Thai nationals.

On Wednesday, provincial health officials in Phuket announced that anyone visiting the island now needs to produce a certificate confirming they have had two vaccination doses or that they are free of COVID-19.

For those that haven’t yet been vaccinated, which is the majority of people in Thailand, the alternative is to take a rapid COVID-19 test at Phuket Airport or the Tha Chat Chai checkpoint before entering the island.

Initially officials announced that everyone taking the test, regardless of nationality, would need to pay 300 THB.

However, anger and outrage quickly ensued particularly from those commenting online, when it was later revealed that the test would be free of charge for Thai nationals but foreigners would be charged 500 THB.

Two tier pricing at its finest.

On Thursday, Thaivisa spoke to David, a British expat in Hua Hin who was due to travel to Phuket on April 28. David said that he has now cancelled that trip because he feels the charge for foreigners is unfair.

“We’d have been due to travel next Wednesday and were going to stay for 10 days in the event that some restrictions may eased after April 30”, David said.

“However, I’ve told my wife to cancel the trip now.

“I know 500 baht is not a lot of money but it is just the whole principle of the thing,” David explained.

“I love living in Thailand but I hate this dual pricing, it simply should not be allowed”.

People commenting on Thaivisa were (understandably) dismayed by the announcement, with many hitting out at the policy, while others called for foreigners to boycott Thailand altogether.

One way to encourage the resident falang to go on holiday for a long weekend…..Not.

Looks like it comes down to Money, Money, Money. Dual pricing alive and well. What did anyone really expect?

No surprise amazing Thailand TIT

A questionable Sinovac vaccine and dual pricing …. nuff said.

Also in Koh Samui they do the same thing, last Friday I did a swab with my Thai wife at the Nathon Public Hospital: she had for free and I paid 1,950 baht. We’re foreigners and never the Thais miss an opportunity to remind us

Foreigners should skip Thailand because of this.

People commenting on the story on Thaivisa’s Facebook page were equally dismayed, although others shared some alternative points of view.

Simply stay away from the Phuket mafia racket

Phuket, ripoff island! Won’t be going anymore

In Switzerland they are much more expensive.. why should they give them out for free? everything has a cost..for thai they have social security so it s not the same issue… sorry but I don t see the problem…

Should be free for the foreigners who pay local taxes.

it’s just 300 Baht – what is the problem?

On Thursday, blogger Richard Barrow shared a statement from Phuket’s Official COVID Information Center which explained the reason why foreigners need to pay for the test.

The reason being the cost of the test for Thai people is covered by the National Health Security Office (NHSO), Ministry of Health.

This coverage is not extended to foreigners in Thailand, including long term expats.

If you are still planning to travel to Phuket before the end of month, the latest requirements can be found below:

This article was republished with permission from Thaivisa.com