Drink, work, travel like (new) normal again next month, Bangkok

Fireworks over Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. Photo: Iconsiam
Fireworks over Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. Photo: Iconsiam

Work at work, drink out after 9pm, fly in without quarantine. 

February is beginning to look a lot like November again with public health measures being relaxed across the board 11 days from now as fears the Omicron variant would shatter the health system recede.

Not only will the Test & Go entry program for vaccinated travelers resume Feb. 1, but working from home will no longer be “compulsory” (air quotes for all you happily officing again), and the booze curfew will return to 11pm, the COVID task force decided yesterday at a very busy meeting.

Travelers from all countries will be eligible to apply for travel this time, but will have to take two RT-PCR tests – one on the first day, another on the fifth. Proof of hotel booking for both of those days, payment for the SHA++ hotels (Not to be confused with SHA or SHA+) arranging RT-PCR tests, and proof of valid vaccination are required.

“Test and Go is resuming on the 1st of February, and instead of one test we will be requiring two tests,” foreign affairs spokesperson Maratee Nalita Andamo said after the meeting. “The Test and Go scheme will also be open to all countries and areas and not just the 63 previously designated.”

While the taps may flow until 11pm again, restaurants must still obtain SHA+ certification.

Although a 2022 high of 8,640 confirmed new cases were reported today, the exponential rise that greeted the new year has mostly tapered off since week two – even if the numbers are woefully undercounted. The best news is that the number of hospital beds, which had been disappearing faster than PlayStation 5s, stabilized Sunday in the low 80,000s.

The task force said the data suggest numbers are would see a decrease soon.

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