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Thailand – Original Quarantine Reinstated, Travel Ban Extended to More Countries

TH – New Quarantine Rules and Updated Travel Ban

On 30 April 2021, the Thai government approved and reinstated the original 14-day quarantine period for those entering Thailand from overseas effective 1 May 2021, and cancelled and suspended the issuing of Certificates of Entry (COE) for foreign nationals who wish to enter Thailand from India effective from 1 May 2021 until further notice. Thailand has also banned foreign nationals arriving from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan amid concerns of more cases of the Indian variant effective from 10 May 2021 until further notice.

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On 30 April 2021, the Thai government approved and reinstated the original 14-day quarantine period for those entering Thailand from overseas effective 1 May 2021, and cancelled and suspended the issuing of Certificates of Entry (COE) for foreign nationals who wish to enter Thailand from India effective from 1 May 2021 until further notice.1  Moreover, Thailand has banned foreign nationals arriving from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan amid concerns of more cases of the so-called Indian variant (officially known as “B.1.617”) effective from 10 May 2021 until further notice.2

These measures are necessary to protect public health in Thailand amidst growing concerns regarding the increased transmission of COVID-19 with variant strains throughout Thailand.

WHY THIS MATTERS

In light of the evolving changes and travel restrictions, it is important for companies and their globally-mobile employees to plan accordingly. All foreign nationals travelling to Thailand need to re-evaluate the necessity of their trips.

Indeed, until such time as the government decides it is safe to rescind or more significantly roll-back current restrictions, extensive remote working is a “best practice” for globally-mobile employees – apart from “essential workers” – to the extent possible, and is a way for employers to foster the safety of their employees and help ensure business continuity.

More Details

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Thailand had previously reduced the quarantine period to 10 days or 7 days, depending on vaccination status, effective from 1 April 2021. Since the Thai New Year (mid-April 2021), Thailand has been fighting a fierce third wave of infections – the worst the nation has dealt with during the pandemic – after a year of relative success in controlling the virus, with the mutated strains of the virus reported in other countries now posing further risk in Thailand. 

To protect public health in Thailand, the Thai government has reinstated the original 14-day quarantine. Details are as follows:

  1. Travellers who obtain a COE after 1 May 2021, must be quarantined for no less than 14 days.
  2. Travellers who obtained a COE before 1 May 2021, must be quarantined as follows:
  • those who arrived in Thailand between 1 – 5 May 2021 must be quarantined for either 7, 10, or 14 days;
  • those arriving in Thailand after 5 May 2021 must be quarantined for no less than 14 days.

Travel Ban

Moreover, the CCSA has placed further restrictions on foreign nationals wishing to enter Thailand from the below-noted four countries. 

India

  1. All COEs that have been issued to foreign nationals from India with an arrival date on or after 1 May 2021, have been cancelled.
  2. The issuance of COEs in India from 1 May 2021 onwards has been suspended until further notice.

Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan

  1. The embassy will stop issuing all visa categories and COEs from 10 May 2021 until further notice. However, foreign travellers who have been issued COEs and with valid visas (except tourist visas and COEs for tourist purposes, which will be cancelled) may travel and arrive in Thailand by 15 May 2021.
  2. The COEs that have already been issued to foreign nationals to enter Thailand with the arrival date from 16 May 2021 onwards will be automatically cancelled.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is updating its online system so that COEs will now state the period of quarantine, according to the conditions. Travellers can download a new COE corresponding with their travel dates and new quarantine period from the MFA website.3

KPMG NOTE

KPMG in Thailand is tracking this matter closely.  We will endeavour to keep readers of GMS Flash Alert posted on any important developments as and when they occur.

FOOTNOTES

1  The changes have been published in the Royal Gazette (in Thai): http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2564/E/094/T_0026.PDF. Announcement from the Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi, India http://newdelhi.thaiembassy.org/en/2021/04/cancellation-suspension-coe-issuance-non-thai-nationals-1-may-2021/.

2  Announcement from the Royal Thai Embassy, Dhaka, Bangladesh: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalThaiEmbassyDhaka/photos/a.1739612959616665/2957082434536372/ ; Announcement from the Royal Thai Embassy, Kathmandu, Nepal: http://thaiembnepal.org.np/storage/files/shares/COVID-19/SOP-for-COE-Application-10-may-2021.pdf;           Announcement from the Royal Thai Embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan: https://www.facebook.com/thai.islamabad/posts/1444285972408271.

3  See Thailand's “Certificate of Entry (COE) Registration System (for air travel)” at: https://coethailand.mfa.go.th/ .

* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Thailand.

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