Public Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has announced the government's plan to start issuing a "COVID-19 passport" next month for those who receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The document will enable the holders to travel freely to any prospective passport-accepting countries. The announcement came after the minister chaired the meeting of Disease Control officials back on March 8. Charnvirakul took the opportunity to update the situation of COVID-related documents that the vaccinated will receive after the inoculation.
First, those who got the first Sinovac shot on February 28 and the second one on March 21 will be granted a vaccine certificate. Anyone who wishes to make a trip out of the country is required to present this vaccine certificate in order to receive the so-called "COVID passport" (which looks identical to the small yellow fever vaccine booklet for those traveling to Africa).
Priced at B50, the passport will be available in both physical and digital formats and valid for one year. The minister, however, admitted that this COVID passport will be recognized only by countries with which Thailand has signed a bilateral agreement. There is no information on which country we're working with this deal at the time of writing. It also means that not every nation would accept the document. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has ordered the Foreign Ministry to handle it at the moment.
The authority also gave an update on the policy to cut down the period of quarantine announced back in February. With the availability of COVID-19 vaccine and the gradual decrease in COVID-positive cases in a number of countries , the government has agreed to finalize the policy to use from April onwards, with three conditions:
- Thai nationals with a certificate indicating they have received two vaccines at least 14 days but not more than 3 months at the time of flying—together with a COVID-free proof—are allowed to practice quarantine for only 7 days when arriving in Thailand.
- Non-Thai nationals with a certificate indicating they have received two vaccines at least 14 days but not more than 3 months at the time of flying—together with a COVID-free proof—are allowed to practice quarantine for only 7 days when arriving in Thailand.
- And non-Thai nationals with a COVID-free proof but no vaccine certificate are allowed to practice quarantine for only 10 days when arriving in Thailand.
However, the new quarantine restriction is not eligible for those traveling from any countries in Africa due to the mutation of the virus. According to Bangkok Biz News, the reporters asked Mr. Anuchin why the new quarantine restrictions excluded travelers from Africa when some countries like the UK and Brazil have also encountered other variants of the virus, to which he responded that the current vaccines can tackle the new mutations found in those two countries while the one in Africa has yet to be manageable by the available vaccines.