Thailand to consider reinstating mandatory quarantine over Omicron

[BANGKOK] Thailand’s public health minister said on Monday (Dec 20) that his ministry will propose reinstating mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The proposal would scrap the current quarantine waiver for vaccinated visitors and revert to hotel quarantine and the “sandbox” programme, which allows free movement within a specific location, Anutin Charnvirakul told the Inside Thailand television show.

He said the proposal will be made to the government’s Covid-19 taskforce “soon”, without elaborating further.

The minister’s remarks come weeks after Thailand reopened to foreign visitors in November, ending nearly 18 months of strict entry policies that contributed to a collapse in tourism, a key industry and economic driver that drew 40 million visitors in 2019.

Anutin said Thailand had detected 63 people infected with the Omicron variant so far, with 1 case of local transmission within the same household and the rest imported cases.