Thailand is continuing to suspend the Test & Go program for travellers as it fights the spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, a senior Public Health Ministry official announced on Tuesday.
Director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said the country would not reimpose its quarantine-free programme due to the spread of Omicron.
According to Dr Opas, there are no plans to reinstate Test & Go under the current circumstances.
The length of time the scheme will be suspended was not mentioned.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, said on Monday that he would like the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to hold off implementing the programme.
No mention was made by either Dr Opas or Mr Anutin of the CCSA meeting, nor was it known whether the meeting had taken place.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a Government spokesperson, said on Tuesday that air travellers who applied for the Test & Go program would be permitted to enter the country by next Monday.
After many people returned from the holiday break, the prime minister was also concerned about an increase in Omicron cases, the spokesperson said.
A December 22 announcement published in the Royal Gazette announced that Thailand was temporarily suspending the scheme until at least January 4.
As of today, there is only one sandbox scheme nationwide, and it is the Phuket Sandbox scheme. As of December 22nd, the other sandbox schemes have been put on hold. There is also the possibility of entering Thailand through the quarantine program.
As of Monday, there were 2,062 accumulated cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant in the country. This is the highest number of accumulated cases since December 24, according to official data.
A report from the Public Health Ministry on Monday reported that the variant had spread from 33 provinces notified on December 29 to 54 on Tuesday.
The director of the Department of Medical Sciences, Supakit Sirilak, appealed for calm since most patients had recovered after a two-week quarantine. However, the rest were still being treated in the hospital.
According to Dr Supakit, Bangkok reported 585 cases of Omicron, followed by 233 in Kalasin, 180 in Roi Et, 175 in Phuket, 162 in Chon Buri and 106 in Samut Prakan.