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Test & Go: Officials Consider Replacing 2nd PCR Test with Antigen Test

Published: February 21, 2022 at 8:17 pm

antigen test kit

Officials admit that the day 5 test requirement of Thailand’s Test & Go entry program disappointed possible tourists from visiting the country. Not only are travelers obliged to undergo a second RT-PCR test on the 5th day of their stay (the first test is mandatory upon arrival), but they are also required to book a SHA+ hotel while they wait for their test results.

To streamline travel processes, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has urged the Department of Disease Control to consider eliminating the mandatory 2nd RT-PCR test, while the Ministry of Tourism and Sports wants to replace the 2nd PCR test with an antigen test that shows results in minutes. The plan must be authorized by the CCSA or Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration. The next meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, February 23.

The news comes as AirAsia reported that many visitors are prohibited from visiting Thailand due to the country’s travel processes.  Anutin is now attempting to balance economic recovery and public safety.

Anutin added that in order to eliminate the 2nd test requirement, preventive measures such as vaccination must be improved. He said that hospital beds and medical supplies must be properly managed and home isolation. In this manner, sufficient beds will be provided for severe cases. While new infections are increasing, the number of severe cases has significantly decreased.

Tourism companies are pressing for the removal of all entry restrictions. On Wednesday, various groups representing tourist companies issued a letter to Prime Minister Prayut urging him to ease restrictions in March. The letter cites Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom as countries where all restrictions have been lifted and the virus is declared endemic.

“Thailand must ease COVID-19 restrictions on international tourists immediately or lose its capacity to compete with other countries.”

Source: Bangkok Post

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