THAILAND has lifted its entry restrictions on all foreign tourists under a newly amended Special Tourist Visa (STV) long-stay programme.
Tourists from around the world, irrespective of their countries' Covid-19 situation, are now welcome to visit Thailand.
However, they still need to comply with Thailand's 14-day mandatory quarantine, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said.
According to a Bangkok Post report, the relaxed policy was a government U-turn on its earlier policies that restricted tourists.
The new policy is also seen as designed to help the ailing tourism industry, which the economy heavily relies on.
STVs were previously only available to people from low risk-countries and the stringent conditions attached to it were blamed for the low number of tourists taking advantage of the programme.
Only 825 people from 29 countries and six luxury yachts arrived in the country, said Rachada.
She said the cabinet had also resolved to extend the stay period for yacht visitors holding an STV for another 30 days, or 60 days in total.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted that Thailand was not experiencing a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, nor was the country dealing with any virus super-spreaders, as rumoured.
He said what happened was that a small group of infected Thais had illegally sneaked back into the country and visited various places.
This merely prompted routine checks as to whether they had infected anyone else, he added.
The premier urged the public not to panic, saying that would only worsen the situation.
He cited the large number of hotel bookings that have been cancelled in recent weeks due to people overreacting to such news.
On Wednesday, the government reported 25 new cases, raising the total number of cases in the country to 4,151.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said there were seven cases from Myanmar, all Thai women aged between 25 and 35.
All of them had worked at entertainment outlets in the Tachilek border town in Myanmar and returned last Friday.
They are now receiving treatment in Chiang Rai province.
Senior health officials said the spread of Covid-19 by women returning from Tachilek was under control, with more than 6,500 high risk people tested and only two local infections were found.
There were now 46 confirmed Tachilek-related cases, including two locally infected and 27 detected during quarantine.
Six people entering Thailand from Switzerland were also found positive for the virus.
Five of them are Thai women returning to the country.
CSSA said 3,880 or 93 per cent of those who were infected, had recovered while the death toll stood at 60.
Source: New Straits Times