Thailand to Revise ‘Test & Go’ Country List Amid Omicron Spread
Authorities are preparing to review Thailand’s ‘Test & Go’ list of countries as infections of the Omicron coronavirus variant increase globally and reports emerge of the Kingdom’s first known local transmission.
According to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the list of low-risk countries eligible for the tourism program could be revised as part of the intensification of disease screening measures.
General Supoj Malaniyom, head of the CCSA’s base of operations, said the center will identify high-risk countries and hold a meeting on Friday to determine to what extent the list of countries and the program itself may need to be revised. The entry program may even be suspended entirely if the risk of new infections is deemed too high.
His comments followed an announcement by the Department of Public Health that said it would support such a suspension while requiring even fully vaccinated tourists to travel under sandbox and state quarantine conditions.
The âTest & Goâ program, launched in November, applies to fully vaccinated travelers from certain countries as part of the country’s economic recovery efforts.
The proposal was forwarded to CCSA by the Ministry of Public Health following the detection of additional Omicron cases in the country.
Dr Chakkarat Pitayawong-anant, director of epidemiology at the Department of Disease Control (DDC), confirmed on Monday the first known local transmission of the Omicron variant.
A 49-year-old Thai woman is said to have contracted the virus from her Colombian husband, who traveled from Nigeria on November 26 via the sandbox program.
The man had been fully vaccinated with two AstraZeneca vaccines before his trip and tested negative for COVID-19 on arrival before receiving a Pfizer booster on December 1. It wasn’t until after showing flu symptoms and being taken to hospital on December 7 that his RT-PCR test came back positive, with he and his wife confirmed to have contracted the Omicron variant on the 10th. December.
According to Dr Supakij Sirilak, director general of the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), 25% of arrivals testing positive for COVID-19 are now infected with the Omicron strain. (NNT)