Gov’t Refutes Gov’t’s Order Requiring Travelers to Present Virus Certificate

Travelers go through a health quarantine checkpoint at Suvarnabhumi Airport on March 4, 2020.
Travelers go through a health quarantine checkpoint at Suvarnabhumi Airport on March 4, 2020.

BANGKOK — An aviation authority’s announcement that all air travelers from 11 countries must present their health certificates before boarding planes to Thailand was dismissed on Wednesday by a transport minister.

Despite the statement issued yesterday by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, or CAAT, transport minister Saksayam Chidchob said the requirement for health certificates is not being implemented.

“The news is unfounded,” Saksayam said. “Thailand has not declared additional countries as infected zones and it’s not the duty of the transport ministry or the CAAT. We have to wait for the health ministry to declare it first until the new measures would become in effect.”

Read: Gov’t Cancels Order Cancelling Visa-on-Arrivals

According to the CAAT’s announcement, Thai and foreign travelers from 11 countries designated as the “ongoing local transmission areas” will be required to present their health certificates issued no more than 72 hours prior to the departure.

Failure to present these documents will result in boarding refusal, the document wrote.

The 11 countries named in the statement include France, Spain, United States, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, and certain cities of Japan (Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi, Wakayama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Okinawa, Kyoto, and Osaka).

Thai travelers from those destinations must also seek a certifying letter from a local Thai embassy, according to the document, while foreigners must present their health insurance policies which have a minimum medical coverage of 100,000 U.S. dollars in Thailand and cover medical expenses related to the coronavirus.

The announcement was then republished on the Facebook page of the Thai embassy in London, where Thai and foreign travelers criticized the abrupt order as impractical.

“Where do you expect me to find the health certificate?,” user Venus Jampasri commented. “The NHS [National Health Service] in England is different from Thailand. You just can’t pop into clinics to get one. The doctors are fully booked. I ask the government to reconsider this measure.”

“How do you expect anyone to insure you during the FCO [Foreign & Commonwealth Office] advisory against all but essential travel worldwide,” user Daniel Slakmon commented. “It’s pretty impossible, so by asking for that particular but important confirmation of insurance it’s pretty much a no go to Thailand right now.”

CAAT’s director general Chula Sukmanop could not be reached for comments as of publication time, though several media sites quoted him as saying he was not aware of the order.

Transport ministry’s spokesman Pisak Jitviriyavasin deferred any inquiries regarding the matter to Chula.