UK now accepts some Thai vaccines and abolishes quarantine on arrival

Flights to and from the UK are going to get easier from next week.

British authorities have now removed Thailand and a host of other countries from the list of red-alert Covid danger zones with effect from Monday October 12.  Only nine countries will remain red and they are all in the Latin America region.  This means that fully-vaccinated British and Thai passport holders will not suffer expensive quarantine on arrival in Britain – provided that their completed jabs are Oxford/Astra Zeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen or a combination.  However, the Chinese vaccines Sinovac and Sinopharm (amongst others) are not recognized for UK entry.

Fully vaccinated passengers arriving in UK must show proof of a pre-paid PCR test for day two as well as a completed passenger locator form, both available online.  Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the expensive PCR test would likely be replaced by a lateral flow test, but did not give a precise date.  Those not vaccinated, or with jabs from non-recognized brands, are now required to self-quarantine in their UK homes or preferred accommodation for 10 days with more pre-paid PCR tests required both before and after the air journey.  They must not leave the place they are staying without official permission.

UK authorities now require travellers, if fully vaccinated in Thailand, to carry an official certificate including the English language.  This must carry the passenger’s full name, the vaccine brand and manufacturer, date of vaccination for each dose and confirmation by the Thai Ministry of Health.  In practice, the document will be the certificate issued by the Thai hospital or vaccination center provided it contains all the above.  In not, a vaccination “passport” will be needed from the Department of Disease Control within the Ministry of Health.

The British removal of Thailand from its list of no go areas will be greeted with relief by Thai tourist agencies.  There may be some positive impact on British arrivals for Thai Sandbox programs, although it remains unclear how they will work outside of Phuket and some southern islands. But the British refusal to recognize for UK entry any vaccinations outside the narrow range of brands described above will cause shockwaves.  The debate is far from over.