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Thailand maintains suspension of quarantine-free entry

 
Bangkok, Jan 8 (IANS) Thailand has announced to maintain the suspension of its quarantine exemption program while upgrading pandemic control measures amid an unprecedented Covid-19 surge.

New applications for Thailand's Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme will not be approved until further notice, Xinhua news agency quoted Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), as saying.

Those who have received approvals can still enter Thailand without quarantine until January 15, Taweesin told a press conference.

On Friday, Thailand reported 7,526 new confirmed cases, the highest daily tally since November 8, 2021, and more than doubled from a daily average of more than 3,000 during the past week.

It also reported 19 more deaths during the last 24 hours, according to the CCSA.

Due to concerns about a new wave of the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country halted the quarantine-free travel scheme from December 22, 2021 and most of its Sandbox Program, which enables quarantine-free entry while requiring visitors to stay in a specific destination for seven days with free movement during their stay, except for the resort island of Phuket.

According to the CCSA, from January 11 onwards, Thailand will allow quarantine-free entry through the sandbox program to additional destinations, including Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao as well as the provinces of Krabi and Pang Nga.

On the same day, the country will also lift an entry ban on people travelling from eight African countries that it had designated as high-risk countries.

The CCSA also decided to halt alcohol consumption at restaurants in eight provinces including the capital Bangkok after 9 p.m. and ban alcohol consumption in the rest 69 provinces, effective from Sunday.

Till date, 64.6 per cent of the country's whole population have been fully vaccinated, while 10.4 per cent have received their booster shots, according to the CCSA.

--IANS
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