As predicted by Pattaya Mail just hours ago, the Thai health ministry has cancelled with immediate effect the latest requirement for all foreigners to show evidence of at least two vaccination jabs before boarding a flight to Thailand. Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters the government had second thoughts after noting that most Thais and foreign arrivals were vaccinated anyway and had developed at least some immunity against covid disease.
The policy, technically in force only a few hours, had been wildly controversial as airline checkin staff were saddled with the responsibility of deciding who could fly and who could not. They are now free of again of that wearisome function. The rule was being ignored anyway by Thai immigration staff at airports nationwide, leading to great confusion in social media and press reports round the world. So, effective immediately, any and all passengers coming to Thailand by air, land and sea are free of any requirement to prove vaccination status. There will be no checks at any stage of their journey.
The health minister also said that health insurance would not be required for most arriving passengers, but would be needed by visitors to Thailand whose next destination by air was to a country requiring a RT-PCR test prior to arrival there. These destinations include India and China although it is not clear how rigorously even this arbitrary rule will be observed in practice. Health insurance in Thailand, he explained, was necessary for this group in case they failed the pre-departure RT-PCR test, 48 hours in advance of departing Thailand, and thus potentially needed hospitalization here. But he failed to mention enforcement.
International travel agents welcomed the news but lamented the ongoing habit of Thai travel bureaucrats to keep shifting the goal posts. “We are now back to the situation before Monday January 9, namely no health checks for anybody visiting Thailand, “said British travel agent Greg Watkins. The vaccine health check, now rescinded, did not anyway apply to entrants by land borders. Immigration police at the popular Poipet border post between Thailand and Cambodia said they had erected a sign, “Show only your passport.”