Thailand coronavirus update, vaccination progress and the return of open tourism
Thailand is one of most popular travel destinations in the world and December usually is a popular month. Coronavirus reduced Thailand tourist numbers in December 2020 to 6,000+. For your comparison, the number was 4 million in December 2019 – according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Get an updated Thailand coronavirus situation and assess when might be the safest time to visit Thailand through our post!
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Thailand coronavirus update (as of 17th September)
Thailand is now going through the third, and its biggest coronavirus wave in the country. As of 17th of September, the country has recorded a total of 1 million+ confirmed cases and 10,000+ deaths (up-to-date number here).
The government has put in place strict measures like mask requirement, dine-in restrictions, and closure of entertainment venues. This wave is hitting all major cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. While the overall situation is starting to look better, anyone visiting Thailand or in Thailand should still take precaution.
Thailand safety for both visitors and residents at this point of time very much depends on getting coronavirus situation under control. The pandemic is putting a lot of stress on healthcare system (read more about other safety-related information here).
The 2nd wave, which happened in late December until February, took about two months to get under control.
Thailand coronavirus vaccination progress
Thailand, a country of ~70 million people, has accumulated ~42 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to date. There are ~28 million population who have taken the 1st shot and ~13 million who have completed 2 shots according to official figures.
Vaccines available in Thailand are mostly Sinovac and AstraZeneca. The government initially prioritized medical staff, front-line workers, elderly (60 years old and above), and people with chronic conditions. Thailand was off to a very slow start in terms of vaccination. However, due to rapid vaccination in recent months, the government is aiming to have over 70% of its population vaccinated by the end of 2021, ahead of its reopening plan.
Thailand has put in place travel restrictions for all arrivals which include obtaining permission, quarantine, insurance, among other things. Our post contains more details on Thailand travel restrictions here.
Thailand welcomes both unvaccinated and vaccinated foreign travelers. Vaccinated travelers now only enjoy shorter quarantine but the country is aiming to exempt vaccinated travelers from quarantine in the future. However, the government has temporarily increased the quarantine period for all travelers to 14 days due to a Coronavirus wave.
Thailand travel vaccination passport for tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced a three-stage plan to reopen the country. This plan aims to cater to vaccinated tourists.
The first stage of the process involves reducing the quarantine period for vaccinated tourists to 7 nights. However, this is already off-track due to the current Thailand coronavirus situation.
Thailand is targeting Stage 2 to launch by Q3 (July to September), which will involve lifting the quarantine requirement for vaccinated tourists. However, travelers will still need to observe other travel restrictions. These travel restrictions include getting approval, buy the insurance, and procure a coronavirus test result (read more on our travel restriction post). Upon arrival, travelers will need to take another coronavirus test and they will be restricted to stay in Phuket for 7 days. After 7 days, they will be allowed to go anywhere in Thailand.
Stage 2 is well underway now, and the country is working towards Stage 3.
Stage 3, which should launch by Q4 (October to December), will replicate the Phuket model in Stage 2 to five other destinations like Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Ko Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Chiang Mai. Bangkok is said to join the country’s reopening plan in mid October.
Which coronavirus vaccines are recognized by Thailand?
Official announcement states that the following Coronavirus vaccines are recognized by Thailand:
- ARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses needed);
- AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed); AZD1222 by SK BIOSCIENCE – AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses needed);
- BNT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran (INN) by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses needed);
- Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses needed);
- Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose needed), and
- mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses needed)
Should you travel to Thailand right now?
It is possible to travel to Thailand right now, but this is not recommended for your own safety due to the 3rd coronavirus wave. If you want to travel for leisure and you have been vaccinated – it might be best to wait until Q3 to enjoy the benefit of a Thailand travel vaccination passport.
Other materials for Thailand travel preparation: