Foreigners get 45 days from October 1

Visitors are at immigration checkpoints at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan province.  (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Visitors are at immigration checkpoints at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan province. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved longer visas for foreign visitors to the country from October 1 to March 31 as part of efforts to revive the economy as the pandemic eases, the agency said on Friday.

Those on regular visas will be able to stay for 45 days, up from the current 30, while the visa-on-arrival scheme will be extended from 15 to 30 days, CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin said.

“We are looking to extend their stay as this will help boost tourism spending, revive the economy and reduce the impact of the pandemic,” Dr Taweesilp said.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has predicted that the number of foreign travelers will reach 10 million this year. From January 1 to August 16, over 4 million foreign tourists visited Thailand, he said.

Dr Taweesilp said the government will declare Covid-19 endemic in October and the CCSA will no longer be the lead agency dealing with the disease.

He said that from October the disease will be under the emergency operations center of the Ministry of Public Health as well as the provincial communicable disease committees.

From November, national and provincial committees will be the only agencies dealing with it. Infected persons will be isolated according to the guidelines of the Department of Medical Services, he said.

Infected people will be isolated in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Medical Services, Dr Taweesilp noted.

The decision to declare the disease endemic was based on the relatively limited number of severe cases and associated deaths.

“The aim is for people to be able to safely coexist with Covid-19 and live normal lives,” said Dr Taweesilp.

The current Covid-19 situation is at the green level, with 2,000-3,999 hospitalized patients and 11-39 deaths per day and 201-399 hospitalized patients dependent on ventilators, while clusters of infection are limited, he said.

The numbers are not high, but new cases are increasing due to the spread of the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron type. “The disease has toned itself down,” said Dr Taweesilp.

Surveys in April and May showed that more than 90% of people had antibodies against the virus while other studies have found that three injections of any Covid-19 vaccine reduce the chance of severe illness and death by more than 90%, he added.

The incidence of Covid-19 would be similar to flu and there will be new cases throughout the year, he noted.

He said the CCSA on Friday did not consider whether the state of emergency will be lifted along with the reduction in the level of Covid-19.

Speaking after chairing the CCSA meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the agency has not yet considered lifting the emergency decree imposed to contain the pandemic.

“She [the decree] it is still necessary to integrate the operations of different agencies. The decree is not intended for other purposes. It is only meant to ensure that the public is safe from Covid-19,” General Prayut said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said the CCSA did not discuss its removal. Asked if it would be held until the Apec meeting in Bangkok in November, Mr Don said that even if it is, there should be no problem as several foreign agencies have held meetings in Thailand with him.

Asked if the decree would affect the country’s image ahead of the Apec meeting, he said no protests would create the best climate.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *