BANGKOK — The British government said it will remove Thailand from its “Red List” on Monday, meaning that travelers will no longer be required to undergo expensive hotel quarantines upon their arrival in England.
Earlier this week, the UK ditched its advice against non-essential travel for 32 countries, but left Thailand and others on the Red List. Now, that list will be reduced to just 7 countries from Monday onward, with Thailand and 46 others coming off the restrictions.
“Thailand is on the red list for entering England. From 4am on Monday 11 October, Thailand will no longer be on the red list for entering England,” the UK government’s foreign travel advice website said.
Bhumjaithai MP Suphachai Jaismut welcomed the news and attributed the change in policy to Thailand’s success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
“Britain’s stance reflects the success from our work and dedication in containing the pandemic in Thailand,” Suphachai, whose party is led by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, wrote on his Facebook. “And a clear proof of the Public Health Ministry’s ability.”
Officials have sought to convince the UK to take Thailand off the Red List for months, since the restrictions were believed to deter many potential travelers from visiting Thailand through the Phuket Sandbox program.
The UK has also missed 2 summers of tourism, due to travel restrictions imposed by the British government that made it difficult for people to travel overseas or for international tourists to visit. Airlines have lashed out at the tough rules, in particular the frequency with which they are altered.
After the change comes into effect on Monday, there will only be seven countries — Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela — on the Red List, which requires all passengers to enter hotel quarantine for 11 nights at a cost of 2,285 GBP for individual travelers.
The changes mean that anyone arriving from the 47 countries removed from the red list will be spared that requirement.
However, they will still need to take a series of coronavirus tests before and after their arrival, and go into self-isolation for ten days unless the British government recognizes a country’s vaccination status certificates and the vaccines used.
The list of recognized vaccines include AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as their formulations such as AstraZeneca Covishield. Vaccines made by China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm, which have been administered to millions of Thais, are not recognized by the British government at this time.