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Thailand Reintroduces Covid Vaccine Rules For Travellers as China Reopens to the World… But There’s a Loophole

Thailand Reintroduces Covid Vaccine Rules For Travellers as China Reopens to the World… But There’s a Loophole

Thailand reintroduced COVID-19 vaccine rules for travellers on Sunday – the same day that China finally reopened to the world after nearly three years of pandemic-induced isolation.

Unlike a growing list of foreign governments, however, Thai health officials aren’t specifically targeting travellers from China with their new pandemic border rules but are instead requiring nearly all visitors to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The sudden reimposition of the vaccine requirement has, though, created a huge amount of uncertainty for thousands of foreign travellers who aren’t Covid vaccinated but had already booked to travel to Thailand before the last-minute rule change.

In a statement, Thailand’s civil aviation regulator said passengers aged 18 and over would be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or recent recovery within six months before being allowed to board flights to the country.

Thai officials initially said unvaccinated visitors would only be allowed to enter Thailand if they had a letter from their healthcare provider with a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated.

The rules had the potential to upend countless travel plans and take a further toll on Thailand’s already battered tourism industry. Airlines and tour operators quickly objected to the border measures, and at the very last minute, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued a loophole for unvaccinated travellers.

Under the latest edition of the rules, airlines are still required to check vaccination or exemption documentation, but if travellers fail to present these documents, they will still be allowed to travel to Thailand.

On arrival, unvaccinated or undocumented travellers will simply then have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival.

For now, the rules will remain in place until at least the end of January while officials monitor the spread of COVID-19 – especially in light of China reopening to the world.

Other countries have specifically targeted travellers from China after COVID infections suddenly spiked across the Chinese mainland when Beijing unexpectedly lifted the vast majority of pandemic control measures.

The United States has expressed concern about the lack of transparent data coming out of mainland China, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has started to test wastewater from airplanes that have arrived from China to monitor for variants of concern.

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