The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) will propose ending the Test & Go entry scheme for arrivals due to concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19, minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday.
Speaking during an interview on national television, Mr Anutin, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the MOPH will propose reinstating mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors in order to try and limit the spread of Omicron.
Mandatory quarantine would be reintroduced and replace the current Test & Go scheme that allows fully vaccinated foreigns to visit Thailand without needing to quarantine.
Mr Anutin said the proposal would be put before the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) “soon” without being more specific.
Mr Anutin said the MOPH begun drawing up the proposals after a total of 63 arrivals were confirmed as being infected with Omicron, while officials were still awaiting confirmation on another 20 tests.
The reintroduction of mandatory quarantine would be a hammer blow for tourism in Thailand and especially in Hua Hin.
On Friday, Hua Hin’s tourism sector received a much welcome boost following the news that entry requirements had been eased, meaning that foreign tourists were could now visit Hua Hin directly after arriving in Thailand, rather than having to spend their first night in Bangkok.
However, should Test & Go be scrapped it would be a further setback for Hua Hin.