BANGKOK (NNT) – The on-arrival RT-PCR Covid test requirement for international travelers entering Thailand via the Test & Go pathway was scheduled to be lifted on December 16 and replaced with a simpler ATK test, until the recent emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s approval of the relaxed testing requirement has been overturned by the Cabinet in light of the new variant.

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha disclosed that the meeting of cabinet ministers today (Nov 30) reversed the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s lifting of the on-arrival RT-PCR test requirement for international travelers. The decision came in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha elaborated that the Cabinet resolved to keep current practices for screening international arrivals in place, including the on-arrival RT-PCR test, in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. He attributed the decision to the incomplete information available on the new variant. He also expressed confidence that if found, cases of Omicron variants will be traceable.

The minister said he was concerned over illegal entries at borders, as infections carried into Thailand through this channel will be difficult to trace. He added that the prime minister has told responsible agencies to stringently tighten border security, and has threatened punishment for security lapses.

Asked whether the opening date for entertainment venues – currently set for mid-January – would need to be postponed, Mr. Sathit said domestic Covid measures remain unchanged as there is yet to be information pointing to the Omicron variant being present in Thailand.

Information and Source

Reporter : Namo Vananupong

Rewriter : Thammarat Thadaphrom

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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