Department of Disease Control chief Opas Karnkawinpong said travellers from African countries where a highly infectious Covid-19 variant is prevalent would still have to undergo the full 14-day quarantine in Thailand.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has approved the launch of 10-day quarantine from April 1, as Thailand eases travel restrictions in response to the vaccination rollout worldwide.
However, concern that vaccines may be less effective against the South African variant of the virus has prompted tighter Thai quarantine restrictions for 10 African countries.
Travellers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, DR Congo, and Ghana will have to spend the full 14 days in Thai quarantine.
The South African strain has been found in Thai returnees from Tanzania and Mozambique.
The full list of countries exempted from the 10-day quarantine measure will be released on the DDC website from April 1 with updates every two weeks.
Phuket to reopen to vaccinated visitors
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Prime Minister has approved a proposal to inoculate at least 70% of the Phuket’s residents to prepare for the reopening for covid-19 vaccinated visitors.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o- cha, on Friday approved the proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70% of the island’s residents to prepare for the reopening for vaccinated visitors, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said.
The minister said visitors to Phuket will be required to have received two doses of the covid-19 vaccine in their home country before entering Phuket under the Phuket Tourism Sandbox.
“I will reopen the country in the sandbox model by limiting the trail to some areas,” Mr Phiphat said.
The decision will be formalized after it is approved by the cabinet.
The government plans to test the reopening plan in Phuket before expanding to other key tourist hotspots, including Koh Samui, to restart a tourism industry battered by a year without its normal millions of tourists, who contributed to one-fifth of the economy before the pandemic.
The approval means that Phuket will reopen three months earlier than the rest of the country, which is expected to welcome fully inoculated visitors in October.