Anutin Rejects Plan to Reduce Quarantine Period for Tourists

A bus leaves with Chinese tourists from Shanghai, who arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on special tourist visas, in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Tuesday reaffirmed that all incoming passengers into Thailand will still need to go through the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

There have been stakeholders from the state and private sectors who had been cheering for a reduction in the quarantine days from 14 to 10 days. However, the minister said the proposal will have to be put aside now.

Anutin said the Thai people in general expressed fear that the country will experience a second wave of COVID-19 infections as most of the newfound cases were imported.

In response to news regarding a Hungarian diplomat who was discovered by Thai health authorities to have contracted the virus on Monday, Anutin said he believed the diplomat had contracted COVID-19 from Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto while they were all on a state trip in Thailand.

“The Hungarian diplomat and his foreign minister were all in the same car and had a meal together,” Anutin said. “Also, 16 people in Thailand who were exposed to the Hungarians had returned negative tests.”

The health minister said although passengers are required to undergo COVID-19 testing and travel with Fit to Fly certificates, many had tested positive for the virus during their quarantine stay.

The ministry will maintain the quarantine period at 14 days to allay concerns among the public, Anutin stressed.

Thailand is reeling from a grim economy rocked by the COVID-19 fallout, but the safety of the Thai people is the top priority, the minister said.