The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has announced international passengers will be allowed to transit Thailand from Monday, March 1, 2021. The authority has also authorised an easing of some restrictions on domestic flights within Thailand.
International passengers have for some time been banned from transiting at Thai airports or using them to transfer to other flights as part of the government’s Covid-19 containment measures, said Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
The change to the transit/transfer flights policy was made following calls by airlines for Covid-19 relief measures, he said. The CAAT’s decision to allow airlines to transit Thai airports is in line with a resolution reached by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) last Monday to relax a range of Covid-19 control measures, Mr Saksayam said.
The aviation authority has also told operators of domestic flights they can resume serving in-flight meals and drinks, as well as selling souvenirs from Thursday.
However, passengers and flight attendants are still required to follow Covid-19 control protocols. These include the mandatory wearing of face masks throughout flights, except while eating or drinking.
The serving of in-flight meals and beverages and souvenir sales were prohibited on Dec 30 as part of the government’s efforts to respond to the Covid-19 situation at the time under its “fourth announcement”.
Covid-19 case numbers dropping
Meanwhile, the government on Saturday reported 72 new Covid-19 cases, 63 local infections and nine imported, raising the total to 25,881 with no new deaths.
The number of daily new cases in the kingdom has come back down to two digits since Feb 20, following the surge that was sparked in Samut Sakhon in mid-December.
Samut Sakhon provincial authorities have recently been reporting effective disease-control measures in high-risk areas, including the Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of the new wave, which has been closed for over two months.
Some officials believe the market could even reopen by Monday but the CCSA has yet to make a final decision.
Deputy governor Teerapat Kutchamath visited the market and insisted it was ready to reopen on Monday. Plans are already in place for merit-making to take place tomorrow, ahead of the anticipated reopening.
Nine imported Covid-19 cases
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said 50 cases were found in hospitals among outpatients and 13 through active case finding in communities.
Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of the new wave of coronavirus in December, logged 37 cases, 58.7% of the local infections. Of these, 34 were confirmed at hospitals and three detected in communities.
Pathum Thani province had 14 new cases — six were confirmed at hospitals and eight through active case finding in communities.
Bangkok recorded five new cases which were confirmed at hospitals, or 7.94% of the daily total. Tak had four new cases, Nakhon Pathom two caes and Ayutthaya one case.
The nine imported cases were quarantined arrivals from the United Kingdom (3), Iran (1), Nigeria (1), Ghana (1), Saudi Arabia (1), Myanmar (1) and Armenia (1).
Of the 25,881 people diagnosed with Covid-19, a total of 25,022 (96.7%) have recovered, including 70 discharged from hospitals over the past 24 hours, and 776 people remain in hospitals. The death toll remains at 83, said the CCSA.
Global Covid-19 cases rose 432,632 in the past 24 hours to 113.98 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 9,773 to 2.52 million. The US had the most cases at 29.1 million, up 80,625. Thailand ranked 114th.