Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports has said he will propose to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that the RT-PCR COVID-19 tests required upon arrival be replaced with the quicker Rapid Antigen Tests.
In an interview with Thai PBS, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn revealed that the replacement of RT-PCR tests at the arrival point, tentatively set for May 1st, with antigen tests conducted by formal medical facilities, will only be possible if Coronavirus infections and the death rate remain stable during and after the Songkran long holiday.
He said the change will only happen if the Coronavirus rate stays between 50,000 and 60,000 Coronavirus cases daily, including those who have only tested positive using antigen tests and daily fatalities do not exceed 100.
The CCSA will also be requested to consider the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ proposal to revoke the “Thailand Pass” on June 1st so that more tourists can visit Thailand without applying for “Test and Go”, “Sandbox” or other quarantine programs.
The Thailand Pass was introduced on November 1st, 2021 when Thailand reopened to international travelers. International travelers had to apply for the pass at least seven days before departure.
Price Reduction of Rapid Antigen Test Kits
It is expected that at least seven million tourists will visit Thailand this year, against a projected target of ten million. Tourism revenues are expected to be approximately 30% of those recorded in 2019 this year and on par with 2019 revenues in the following two years.
Meanwhile, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) said Rapid Antigen test kits (ATKs) for home use will become more easily available in stores and at more affordable prices.
Dr. Thongchai said the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will be required to procure ATKs from a German company with a production base in China, which cost about 40 baht each for Rapid Antigen test kits.
In terms of online sales of Rapid Antigen test kits (ATKs), he emphasized that people have to get permission from the TFDA before selling the products online, or they may face legal action for promoting the devices without a permit.