Thailand lifts Covid restrictions in return to ‘old normal’

Bangkok, Oct 1 (EFE).- Thailand returned to the “old normal” on Saturday after lifting almost all Covid-19 restrictions with the infection being downgraded from a “dangerous infectious disease” to an “infectious disease under surveillance.”

With the end of the Covid-19 Emergency Decree, in force since Mar. 25, 2020, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration – set up to draw up strategies to combat the pandemic – will “be automatically dissolved, and all the regulations, announcements, and orders issued by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet under the decree be revoked,” the Thai authorities announced.

As a result, international travelers arriving in Thailand from Saturday will no longer have to show proof of vaccination or undergo PCR tests.

Moreover, those infected but exhibiting mild or no symptoms will not need to isolate themselves but only wear a face mask for a period of five days to prevent the spread of the virus.

Despite face masks not being mandatory in the country since the end of June, the health ministry recommended that the population continue to use them in closed places that are poorly ventilated or crowded.

According to the ministry, “the Covid-19 situation will gradually ease into the same level as influenza, meaning it will be easily transmitted but won’t cause severe symptoms in those who are fully vaccinated.”

Thailand, whose total caseload reached 4.6 million on Friday, including 32,764 deaths, began to gradually reopen its borders in July 2021 amid a series of restrictions, which have been gradually relaxed.

Now, with the nation “fully reopened,” the government hopes to revive tourism, one of the main drivers of the Thai economy and hit hard by the health crisis.

The authorities also announced the extension of visa-free stay in the country from 30 days to 45 days from Saturday.

In 2019, before the outbreak of Covid-19, the tourism sector accounted for almost 20 percent of the gross domestic product of the country, which received some 40 million foreign tourists that year. EFE


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