The government is to consider further delaying the resumption of the Test & Go scheme until the end of this month following the spike in Omicron cases in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that concern over the global Omicron outbreak previously prompted the government to originally suspend the entry of both Thais and foreign arrivals until today.
However, Omicron infections have been detected among prior arrivals, he said.
In light of this, a meeting of the Public Health Ministry’s Emergency Operation Centre on Monday agreed to ask the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to consider keeping the Test & Go scheme, which was set to resume today, on hold until the end of this month, he said.
“In the interests of health and safety, we have decided to delay the Test & Go scheme further. We will present the proposal for approval by the CCSA,” Mr Charnvirakul said.
As for Test & Go travellers whose applications for entry were previously approved, they must now enter Thailand by 10th January under revised measures for travel, he said.
After the 10th January deadline, visitors must only enter under the Phuket Sandbox scheme or be quarantined, he said.
Mr Charnvirakul added the Department of Medical Sciences reported that Thailand logged 229 more cases of Omicron yesterday, bringing the total to 1,780.
Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, expressed concern over COVID-19 infection clusters in several provinces, with pubs and restaurants that had failed to ensure staff and patrons adhered to Covid-Free safety measures cited as the main sources of transmission.
Dr Wongrajit stressed that those who had attended venues where precautions were not being taken should take antigen tests before returning and then work from home for at least 14 days, while those with no choice but to work on-site should also have two more tests during the first week, and have their health monitored for a further two, he said.
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said that returning government agencies, banks and private companies have been urged to conduct antigen testing on their staff to prevent the spread of the virus.