The government of Thailand has officially defined four countries and two territories in China as dangerous coronavirus zones. Health authorities said restrictions may follow to prevent further coronavirus outbreaks.
The announcement, dated Monday and published in the Royal Gazette on Thursday, classified South Korea, China, Macao, Hong Kong, Italy and Iran as “dangerous communicable disease areas”.
The move came as the Thai postal service began disinfecting all packages received from overseas, although the World Health Organization has said it is safe to receive post from badly affected countries such as China.
No quarantine measure has been officially announced, but Public Health Ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kitphati told Reuters on Thursday. Saying the no quarantine measure would come into effect on Friday.
“Thais and foreigners who came from these places would have to go through self-quarantine for 14 days. At home or in a hotel room. They would have to report themselves to the authorities every day or officials will come to check on them,” Dr Rungrueng said.
This means that all arrivals from these places, including those that transit through them, will have to provide the authorities with their addresses and travel plans and be self-quarantined for 14 days.
Breaching Thailand’s coronavirus quarantine punishable
Those that breached the quarantine will face a 20,000-baht fine, Dr Rungrueng said. Arrivals who display coronavirus symptoms will be sent directly to government hospitals.
The government has to date been extremely reluctant to restrict travel. Above all for fear it would further affect the ailing tourism industry. Thailand’s tourism industry makes up almost 20% of gross domestic product. Ministers and high-ranking officials have given mixed signals and even contradicted one another at times.
As for thousands of Thais gradually returning home from South Korea, the government has prepared facilities for the 14-day quarantine. Above all for those from Gyeongsang province and the city of Daegu. Currently epicenters of the virus outbreak, the government said.
The country has recorded a total of 47 coronavirus cases since January, with one fatality. Thirty-one of the coronavirus patients have recovered and returned home. While 15 are still being treated in hospitals.