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Traveling to Thailand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 28th July 2021
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Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on July 28.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Thailand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Thailand has recorded more than 4,200 deaths and 527,000 cases of Covid-19 as of July 28. The country is currently battling its worst wave since the start of the pandemic.
Most travelers must quarantine for 14 days in an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.
However, on July 1 the island of Phuket reopened to vaccinated foreign visitors without quarantine requirements. On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, dubbed "Samui Plus."

What's on offer

Picture-perfect islands. Golden beaches with swaying palms. Ornate temples and lush forests. Thailand has long been the go-to destination for those after a no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eye tropical break.

Who can go

Holders of US, Canada, UK and Australia passports are among those not required to obtain a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes and will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period not exceeding 45 days on each visit. However, they are still required to obtain the Certificate of Entry.
Tourists from countries not on the visa exemption list can apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV), which allows for 90-day stays, and can be renewed twice. You must apply for an STV via the Thai consulate or embassy in your own country.
All travelers who have received a Certificate of Entry are required to download the ThailandPlus Application and register. Upon arrival in Thailand they will have to show a QR code that will be scanned by the Thai authorities upon arrival.
Thailand has released an online step-by-step guide offering detailed information on entry procedures.

What are the restrictions?

All travelers must provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000 and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Another PCR test must be taken on arrival, after which all travelers (with the exception of fully vaccinated travelers flying to Phuket or Koh Samui) must quarantine at government-approved quarantine facilities or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities. This can include luxury hotels, some of which have developed quarantine packages.
A full list of participating hotels and resorts, along with package rates, can be found here: asq.locanation.com.
On July 1, Phuket reopened to vaccinated travelers from low- and medium-risk destinations without quarantine restrictions. However, visitors need to stay in a SHA+ accredited hotel on the island for 14 days before they are allowed to travel elsewhere in the country.
Phuket visitors need to apply for a Certificate of Entry. They will also need to provide proof of an insurance policy that covers treatment for Covid-19 up to the cost of $100,000, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 with an approved vaccine administered no less than 14 days before their travel date.
A full list of requirements for Phuket can be found on the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website and guidelines for the reopening can be found here.
On July 15, the country launched a similar program on the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, dubbed "Samui Plus."
Fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to fly into Koh Samui. They need to stay in an approved hotel on the island and are not allowed to leave the property for the first three days. After seven days they are allowed to travel between the three islands.
At the end of the 14 days, they will be permitted to travel elsewhere in the country. Find out more on entry requirements and movement restrictions on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.

What's the Covid situation?

For months, Thailand reported few locally transmitted Covid-19 cases thanks to strict quarantine on arrival rules.
However, the country continues to battle its third and worst wave of infections, which emerged from outbreak clusters in several Bangkok nightclubs in early April.
At the moment, the country is reporting more than 10,000 new cases per day on average, with the majority of cases in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces.
A nationwide vaccine program officially kicked off on June 7. Thailand aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of the year.

What can visitors expect?

A new round of restrictions, including a curfew, has been imposed on 13 high-risk provinces until at least August 2. Affected areas are Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala.
Only essential shops and services in these areas are permitted to open and restaurants are limited to take-out only.
Interprovincial travel is discouraged at the moment. With few exceptions, domestic flights to and from high-risk areas have been cancelled. Bus and train travel has been impacted as well, with operators suspending or decreasing journeys.
Full updates available on the Tourism Authority of Thailand website.
Entertainment venues -- including bars and nightclubs -- throughout most of the country have been ordered to close.
Masks are worn at all times in public, both indoors and out, while temperature checks are the norm. Those who do not wear masks face fines.
Areas within driving distance of Bangkok have been able to benefit from domestic tourists prior to the latest restrictions, but other normally popular destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui haven't been as fortunate.
Visitors to these destinations will find empty beaches and heavily discounted accommodation options.
In Phuket, many shops, restaurants and hotels in the southern beaches of Patong, Kata and Karon have closed due to the lack of tourists.

Useful links

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