Thailand scraps pre-travel COVID tests, warns Songkran will be dryer than ever

Photo: Phuketian.S / CC by 2.0
Photo: Phuketian.S / CC by 2.0

Travelers will no longer need to pass COVID tests prior to departing for the kingdom starting in April.

Under pressure to make travel easier, the COVID-19 task force this morning announced that those arriving under the so-called Test & Go and sandbox schemes will need only pass a PCR test upon their arrival and an ATK on their fifth day of stay.

“It is being considered that the RT-PCR test prior to arrival will not be required anymore,” foreign affairs spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun said.

As of April 1, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers under “Alternative Quarantine” program will only be required to isolate five days, rather than seven and 10 days, respectively.

The task force however poured cold water on hopes for a full-on Songkran, saying that the holiday was likely to remain dry again this year to limit the spread of infection.

Traditional rod nam dam hua (water splashing on the head, often of elders) will be allowed in line with COVID regulations. However, the wild public water splashing that has come to define the holiday won’t be allowed.

Foam parties? Forget it. The task force said drinking in enclosed event spaces would not be allowed, but it was unclear if that extended to a prohibition at all bars and restaurants – though that seems unlikely.

Those celebrating Songkran in such spaces are encouraged to practice social distancing measures and wear masks at all times.

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