Thailand Suspends Test & Go Visitor Applications

Thailand Suspends Test & Go Visitor Applications

51

With concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant, Thailand is once again closing to vaccinated tourists… sort of.

Thailand suspends Test & Go program for visitors

Thailand’s borders were largely closed to tourists for the better part of 18 months during the pandemic, aside from a few exceptions (like the Phuket Sandbox concept, or undergoing an extended quarantine). As of November 2021, Thailand reopened to vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries with the Test & Go program.

Interested travelers needed to apply in advance, and then needed to be tested both prior to travel, and upon arrival in Thailand. There was just a brief quarantine requirement upon arrival, until a test result came back negative. At that point travelers were free to go and explore the country.

That’s going to be changing. As of 12AM on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, Thailand will no longer be accepting applications for its Test & Go scheme until further notice. If travelers still want to visit Thailand, they can either apply for the Phuket Sandbox, or will have to undergo a longer quarantine.

Thailand is suspending visitor applications

Those who were already approved can still travel

Here’s the interesting twist, and what I at least appreciate compared to how other countries have handled things. Those who had already been approved for Thailand’s Test & Go scheme for an upcoming trip can still take their trip. So Thailand isn’t completely closing its borders, but rather is simply not taking any more application for future visitors.

Those travelers who have already been approved will have to undergo a second PCR test in Thailand at a designated government facility, though it’ll be at no cost to the traveler.

Planning international travel in advance right now is extremely difficult, given constantly changing rules. So it’s nice to see a country at least honoring a tourism program based on the time at which people apply.

Those who were already approved can still travel to Thailand

Is the world really shutting down again?

Let me add the usual caveat that I’m not a doctor or epidemiologist, but just someone who follows the travel industry and shares my thoughts. Over the summer there was so much optimism around coronavirus, thanks to low case numbers in many parts of the world plus widespread vaccination, while now it feels a whole lot like last winter. We’re seeing many countries once again close borders, or at least heavily restrict travel.

I also want to acknowledge that I feel like just about everyone is sick right now, some with coronavirus, and some with a cold. I can’t count the number of people I personally know who have coronavirus right now (all vaccinated), though without exception they’re having very mild symptoms (like a cold for a few days, and that’s it). Of course that doesn’t tell the full story, as in the US we’re seeing 1,300+ deaths per day, and things are about to get a lot worse, with many (sick) people gathering with loved ones for the holidays.

All that being said, I can’t help but wonder at what point we stop saying “oh look, there’s a new variant, let’s shut our borders.” I don’t have an answer to that question, but here are my thoughts:

  • There will keep being new variants, as that’s kind of how viruses work, and coronavirus isn’t going anywhere
  • I think the pandemic has shown that travel restrictions don’t do a whole lot to stop the virus, especially if you’re not closing borders altogether, and if the variant is already in a country (which it almost always is by the time it’s detected)
  • Data continues to show that vaccinated (and especially boosted) people are significantly less likely to get coronavirus, and to develop serious illness; just look at newly released data from Massachusetts, showing that unvaccinated people are 31x more likely to get coronavirus than boosted people
  • If people choose not to get vaccinated (and there’s no way to force people to get vaccinated), then it seems like not a whole lot can be done there?

My hope is that the “let’s shut our borders because there’s a new variant” approach stops when:

  • Virtually everyone in the world has full access to vaccines and boosters (though in the case of travel agreements that only involve certain countries, perhaps it’s most important that everyone in those countries has access to vaccines)
  • The coronavirus pill that’s being developed to reduce the risk of serious illness gets approved; if that works as we hope, that should massively reduce deaths from coronavirus
How many more times will countries shut down?

Bottom line

Thailand is suspending applications for its Test & Go scheme until further notice. This was open to vaccinated travelers from dozens of countries. This comes as the country is concerned about the spread of the omicron variant. On the plus side, those who already had their Test & Go application approved can still travel to Thailand, though they’ll need to undergo a second PCR test in the country (at no extra cost).

What do you make of Thailand once again restricting tourism?

Conversations (51)
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  1. lefty Guest

    Coronavirus will eventually become flu-like - we're just not there yet. Need to go through a few more cycle (rise and fall of cases/deaths) before it normalizes.

  2. Johann Bothma Guest

    unnecessary. As a South African I don't agree. We we hit first and fast. Most people I know that is fully vaccinated only showed mild symptoms for a few days. Hospitalization (mainly unvaccinted patients) came down with 91%.
    Infection rate is already lowering within 4 weeks. This varient cannot be contained. Those that try to control it is only prolonging the process.

  3. Johann Bothma Guest

    Thailand need to listen to the WHO. They only prolonging the spread of this variety that can not be contained. South Africa Gauteng was hit first, hit their peak fast with infection rate already lowering within 4 weeks.
    Thailand is hurting their Tourism sector

  4. NYGuy24 Member

    "Virtually everyone in the world has full access to vaccines and boosters"

    Well this is just flat out not true. Directly from the WHO: "Three out of four healthcare workers in Africa remained unvaccinated, and only half of the WHO’s member states reached the target of vaccinating 40 per cent of their populations by year’s end “because of distortions in global supply”

  5. Iris Guest

    I am , hopefully, going to Thailand 0n 7th Jan. To be allowed to go my husband and I had to get health insurance to the value of £10,000, be fully jabbed including a booster, be staying at a designated hotel plus have a Thailand Pass. We also have to pay for our PCR test on arrival at the airport and have another 2 days later at our hotel. I think we have earned our holiday

  6. Michael Maloney Guest

    I have paid for all my Quarantine an insurance ticket an PCR test (I am stuck with no travel I have to take more Quarantine stay doi get Credit oradon payment reg also I have to pay for my condo were my wife stay to much on

  7. Scotty Guest

    A virus has a goal to infect as many as possible. If the virus kills its host its not able to survive so it must mutate to become less dangerous but more transmitable. The virus will continue to evolve and most people will become asymptomatic causing easier spread.

  8. NYGuy24 Member

    "Data continues to show that vaccinated (and especially boosted) people are significantly less likely to get coronavirus, and to develop serious illness; "

    Actually that is NOT what the data shows. Fully vaccinated people are being infected left and right. Only those with the boosters have about a 70-75% chance of avoiding infection but the US is way way behind on booster shots. Vaccinations are preventing serious illness but even if vaccinated you can...

    "Data continues to show that vaccinated (and especially boosted) people are significantly less likely to get coronavirus, and to develop serious illness; "

    Actually that is NOT what the data shows. Fully vaccinated people are being infected left and right. Only those with the boosters have about a 70-75% chance of avoiding infection but the US is way way behind on booster shots. Vaccinations are preventing serious illness but even if vaccinated you can still spread the virus.

    We don't know if the virus is mild or not. Some studies coming out are suggesting it isn't more mild than the other variants. It is just that the vaccines work to prevent severe illness. However a large portion of the population is not vaccinated. If it turns out to be severe for them they will flood the hospital systems. Hospital staffs are coming down with covid leading to staffing shortages. Hospitals deal with more than just covid but if covid patients take up all the beds other people can't get the necessary treatments and people who are fully vaccinated may die because their medical problems can't be addressed. Keep in mind hospitals in places like Michigan are already over capacity and shipping patients to other states for treatment. We were not doing well with covid before this variant.

    This variant is soo contagious and dangerous because of how fast and easily it spreads. If it hits the unvaccinated hard we may see tons of deaths that could have been avoided. Not to mention with this incredible number of infections it is possible the virus can mutate again into something that might even be fatal to vaccinated people. The whole thing is very dangerous especially during the holiday season when we don't know much about it. International travel really should be the last thing on people's minds right now until we see how this plays out.

  9. Aussie Guest

    Covid is over. With rare exception it’s only the unvaccinated dying now.

    “…though without exception they’re having very mild symptoms …”. This is vaccinated experience.

    The world needs to move on.

  10. Simon Guest

    It feels like playing plague

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Nah, in plague, the governments of the world are much smarter. Not even TP shortages in the game.

  11. Jim Guest

    We have bought our tickets, paid for our hotels and applied for our visa. Now since we weren't able to apply for test and go we will probably cancel our six week trip. We are triple vaccinated. Fear mongers love the power they have been given. I am a 60 year old nurse who took care of covid patients for a year with no vaccine. Basement trolls want everyone to stay in their basements.

  12. Tim Lee Guest

    I just arrived into BKK a few hours ago. Made it in before the rule rules start.

  13. Ed Guest

    “ Virtually everyone in the world has full access to vaccines and boosters”

    This is absolutely not true. Whilst it may be true of richer countries, poorer nations are still struggling to get shots, especially the mRNA ones which appear to more effective against omicron. A situation that is only made worse by the booster roll out in rich countries.

    Ben, I love what you do, but this is definitely time to check your privilege.

    1. AZTravelGuy Guest

      You misread this. Preceding the bullet point you quoted is this:

      "My hope is that the 'let’s shut our borders because there’s a new variant' approach stops when:"

      Ben is not saying the world has full access to vaccines and boosters.

    2. David Diamond

      @AZTravelGuy

      While that's true, I don't think that's happening any time soon. Even if hoping for reopening when 70% of the world population has had a booster, we're already looking at billions of doses just to give poor countries 2 shots of mRNA (I'm going to discount the comparatively much less effective non-mRNA vaccines), and now with a booster coming, that's another 5 billion doses, for just a 70% coverage rate. That's going to take...

      @AZTravelGuy

      While that's true, I don't think that's happening any time soon. Even if hoping for reopening when 70% of the world population has had a booster, we're already looking at billions of doses just to give poor countries 2 shots of mRNA (I'm going to discount the comparatively much less effective non-mRNA vaccines), and now with a booster coming, that's another 5 billion doses, for just a 70% coverage rate. That's going to take a long time, and depend on a lot of good luck to not have a even more contagious and vaccine resistant variant while we're rolling out the current vaccine.

      Which is to say, I don't think Ben himself would accept what he's implying, which is lock down for probably another 1-2 years.

    3. Steve Diamond

      "check your privilege"

      Ben has the right to post whatever he wants, its his site. What an absurd thing to say.

    4. Ricardo Figueiredo Guest

      You should have read it more carefully. He said: "I hope this will stop when Virtually everyone in the world has full access to vaccines and boosters”

    5. Aussie Guest

      Check your reading comprehension

  14. John Guest

    Ben, you don't have to remind us you're "not a doctor or an epidemiologist".

  15. panda Guest

    At least they kept the Sandbox which is a better option than most Asian countries.

  16. George Romey Guest

    Ben is right. None of these measurers have stopped the spread. COVID is now part of life. Every person will likely get infected at some point in their life. People that aren't healthy, specifically morbidly obese aren't going to fare well but the world can't/shouldn't shut down along with all the other restrictions that don't work (vax, masks) because people make bad life choices.

    Unfortunately, I don't see any rational approach in the short...

    Ben is right. None of these measurers have stopped the spread. COVID is now part of life. Every person will likely get infected at some point in their life. People that aren't healthy, specifically morbidly obese aren't going to fare well but the world can't/shouldn't shut down along with all the other restrictions that don't work (vax, masks) because people make bad life choices.

    Unfortunately, I don't see any rational approach in the short term. It will have to be the US leading because the US dominants Western Culture. And that's not happening with the current Administration and Congress.

    1. Andy Guest

      Way to make this political George.

      Where was your outrage with the previous administration who let it spread without deterrent and only half baked promises that it'll disappear on its own?

      I don't want to make this political and neither should you. Let's just discuss the hobby through a clear lens.

    2. David Guest

      I think people need to be reminded this is the same guy who spews nonsense like this before, in the comments section:
      https://onemileatatime.com/flying-to-hawaii-with-coronavirus/

      Last year, before vaccination even started you've been talking about "not hiding in the basement", "not being a Karen" and it's ok to infect other people as long as you make it out fine yourself. Disgusting behavior that should never be forgotten.

    3. jc Guest

      “If people die, it’s their own fault” is a really ignorant stance. Very weird to single out obesity - has a strong genetic component - and is only one of a long list of comorbidities that result in an increased risk. Small minded notions of the US superiority are ironically what’s leading to waning US influence.

  17. Barry Scrivener Guest

    I've booked a diving liveaboard, from phuket area, due to fly from UK pcr test 72hr before departure 31st jan direct flight, arriving 1st pcr test at airport, then hotel for 2 nights, then liveaboard 4 nights , back to port , for a night and day staying on boat , then 6 nights on boat west of Thailand, then 2 nights in hotel before travel to UK, applied for pass last week, but nothing,...

    I've booked a diving liveaboard, from phuket area, due to fly from UK pcr test 72hr before departure 31st jan direct flight, arriving 1st pcr test at airport, then hotel for 2 nights, then liveaboard 4 nights , back to port , for a night and day staying on boat , then 6 nights on boat west of Thailand, then 2 nights in hotel before travel to UK, applied for pass last week, but nothing, re applied, and now been send pass for before and one for the re apply, So hopefully all OK, just got to work out how to get the Thailand government pcr test on day 6 or 7 .

    1. Rich Guest

      I'm in virtually the same position - Liveaboard from Khao Lak on the 3rd though slightly different because that will be our 7th day in Thailand. I've no idea how the day 7 PCR test will work but hopefully we can do it in the morning before the boat leaves. It all feels very risky in case of a positive/false positive test but the pull of a Chang while watching a Similar sunset is too strong!

    2. Jonathan Guest

      Really ? Who cares about your travel itinerary ?
      Normally Thai Pass is approved on 7 days and. If you haven't got yours yet it's because your application was incomplete and good luck trying to get a new one.

    3. Richard Moore Guest

      Thai pass is approved before you can depart for Thailand so that’s in hand. We’re talking about the new 7 day pcr test and whether you can board a 5 day offshore dive boat without it; hence the travel plans being relevant. If you know the answer then please share. Things like whether the arrival day counts as day 1 and how many days to get the result of the new (free) test would also be useful to know.

    4. Dot Glodek Guest

      They will likely give you a test when you land jd wherever you stay wants a photo of your result I went to Samui for 12 nights after the Bangkok quarantine stop - Everything went smoothly except the US required PCR test at the Samui “Bangkok hospital” where they wanted to time my test for my arrival in US on 11-24, not 3 days from return (ie leaving Bangkok) I tried to let them know...

      They will likely give you a test when you land jd wherever you stay wants a photo of your result I went to Samui for 12 nights after the Bangkok quarantine stop - Everything went smoothly except the US required PCR test at the Samui “Bangkok hospital” where they wanted to time my test for my arrival in US on 11-24, not 3 days from return (ie leaving Bangkok) I tried to let them know but my communication in Thai lacks. Was great being at an uncrowded resort/fitness facility, but I feel nothing but empathy for how the owners /investors are making it work.

  18. Anni Guest

    I already got my ThailandPass but my sister Not. She registered yesterday. Is it to Late If you Not received the ThailandPass until now? :( or do they accept registrations from yesterday? Thanks so much for your help!

    1. JST Guest

      If it’s not approved by midnight of 22 Dec she’s out of luck. After that, 7 day quarantine at an ASQ Hotel

    2. Phillip Guest

      The Thai Pass application port for Test & Go remained open until exactly midnight so I wouldn’t be surprised if they still approve any applications up to that point.

  19. Mark Jukic Guest

    I had plan Ed to go on the 24th Jan I early don't want to waste 10 days of my hiday stuck in a hotel room and how much does it cost???.

  20. Missy Guest

    Due to fly on 15th Jan & have not yet applied for Thai Pass as we were anxious that either UK or Thai Governments would impose longed quarantine/stop entry! Now what?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Go somewhere else?

  21. Khan Guest

    Well, they will go hungry until they will figure out that the current military junta needs to be replaced. Then, slowly things should change.

    1. BBK Diamond

      Exactly, similar to Europe. The retrograde socialists of Spain almost broke (even more) they economy which is greatly reliant on tourism income.

    2. kimshep Guest

      Seriously, what seems to pass as "American world views" really needs to be examined with .. er. intelligence and logic.

      Both comments above demonstrate how woefully ignorant parts of the USA are about foreign countries and even the meaning of the word 'socialism'. Hey BBK, did you keep your US Government-mandated COVID cash allowances? If you did, you've just become a 'socialist' by your own definition.

  22. pwirth158 New Member

    Congrats to everyone who had their pass approved! I just left Thailand and getting to experience such a beautiful country was a blessing with tourism/crowding at a fraction of what it has been, and (hopefully?) will be again.

  23. X-CCCP New Member

    I am done with travel planning. It's Novus Ordo Seclorum (the one that conspiracy theorists have theorized about for ages - I am not one of them :)) As we all know, there are many more letters in the Greek alphabet....

  24. Derek Guest

    Biden should shut down the airlines for a week to stop Covid. Nation lockdown of just 1 week. Otherwise people will die.

    1. Dan77W Guest

      And the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it….. get with it, it’s a serious disease and ridiculous outdated comments from unserious people are just a desperate attempt to fish for fight. Well here u go! Now let the outrage and vitriol begin as I exit left. I will pray for you!

  25. Ian Bromley Guest

    Never forget that Thailand is ruled by coup leaders and power mad acolytes. Omicron is only another excuse to bring destruction to an industry that brings dangerous liberal attitudes into the country and give locals a taste of true freedom of thought instead of state managed mind control. Tourists are regarded as threats and their exclusion under any pretext will be taken.

    1. Miamiofbust Guest

      Wow, what planet are you on? Another Chinese bot that didn’t get Thaipass approved? Don’t think most Thais need contact with foreigners for exposure to liberal ideas. It is actually a pretty open society with limited restrictions on non-political speech and movement (for SE Asia). Disparage the King, not good. Besides, there are tons of foreigners in Thailand now despite restrictions. Thai politicians proclaiming liberal ideals have rarely delivered much more than replacing one form...

      Wow, what planet are you on? Another Chinese bot that didn’t get Thaipass approved? Don’t think most Thais need contact with foreigners for exposure to liberal ideas. It is actually a pretty open society with limited restrictions on non-political speech and movement (for SE Asia). Disparage the King, not good. Besides, there are tons of foreigners in Thailand now despite restrictions. Thai politicians proclaiming liberal ideals have rarely delivered much more than replacing one form of corruption for another. Anyone with opportunity should go. Most Thai people are kind and engaging.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      I don't think @Ian is another Chinese bot. The way he is blaming things, he's probably tricked by some transgender Thai to get married and wonder why she never have kids.

      While they do have exposure to liberal ideas, Thailand and many countries, still have state managed mind control and the limited freedom of speech that comes with it. But besides China and North Korea, others are less effective in having total control.
      Being...

      I don't think @Ian is another Chinese bot. The way he is blaming things, he's probably tricked by some transgender Thai to get married and wonder why she never have kids.

      While they do have exposure to liberal ideas, Thailand and many countries, still have state managed mind control and the limited freedom of speech that comes with it. But besides China and North Korea, others are less effective in having total control.
      Being a tourist or foreigner, Thai leadership and politics shouldn't really affect you at all, a free election or military coup. You only get affected from some of these not well thought out policies. No different than Brandon, who came from an election.

      So @Ian when did you discover she was a he?

    3. Dan77W Guest

      “Never forget that Thailand is ruled by coup leaders” Correct, however your diatribe that followed is most definitely not as anyone who has lived, worked, or even visited there would know.

  26. Brandon Samuels Guest

    I just got my Thailand Pass approved last week. Just in the nick of time!

    1. X-CCCP New Member

      Good for you. I have been planning a return trip to Thailand for the end of next year but something tells me we will be in this "stop-and-go" mode for many-many years. So re-thinking this planning.

    2. Rob Guest

      Mine literally got approved yesterday. Talk about JIT.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Andy Guest

Way to make this political George. Where was your outrage with the previous administration who let it spread without deterrent and only half baked promises that it'll disappear on its own? I don't want to make this political and neither should you. Let's just discuss the hobby through a clear lens.

4
David Guest

I think people need to be reminded this is the same guy who spews nonsense like this before, in the comments section: https://onemileatatime.com/flying-to-hawaii-with-coronavirus/ Last year, before vaccination even started you've been talking about "not hiding in the basement", "not being a Karen" and it's ok to infect other people as long as you make it out fine yourself. Disgusting behavior that should never be forgotten.

3
NYGuy24 Member

"Data continues to show that vaccinated (and especially boosted) people are significantly less likely to get coronavirus, and to develop serious illness; " Actually that is NOT what the data shows. Fully vaccinated people are being infected left and right. Only those with the boosters have about a 70-75% chance of avoiding infection but the US is way way behind on booster shots. Vaccinations are preventing serious illness but even if vaccinated you can still spread the virus. We don't know if the virus is mild or not. Some studies coming out are suggesting it isn't more mild than the other variants. It is just that the vaccines work to prevent severe illness. However a large portion of the population is not vaccinated. If it turns out to be severe for them they will flood the hospital systems. Hospital staffs are coming down with covid leading to staffing shortages. Hospitals deal with more than just covid but if covid patients take up all the beds other people can't get the necessary treatments and people who are fully vaccinated may die because their medical problems can't be addressed. Keep in mind hospitals in places like Michigan are already over capacity and shipping patients to other states for treatment. We were not doing well with covid before this variant. This variant is soo contagious and dangerous because of how fast and easily it spreads. If it hits the unvaccinated hard we may see tons of deaths that could have been avoided. Not to mention with this incredible number of infections it is possible the virus can mutate again into something that might even be fatal to vaccinated people. The whole thing is very dangerous especially during the holiday season when we don't know much about it. International travel really should be the last thing on people's minds right now until we see how this plays out.

2
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