Covid-19 in Thailand: Update

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published on 8 April 2020 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

  

The coronavirus also affects the entry of foreign persons into Thailand. For which groups of people it is, with exceptions, allowed and which are the possibilities to extend a visa application in case you cannot leave the country, you can read below.



Confirmed cases

As of 7 April 2020, Thailand has about 2,258 confirmed covid-19 cases. However, it should be kept in mind that the number of tests is – according to publicly available sources – comparatively low. Thus, the actual number of cases could be significantly higher. 824 persons have recovered, and 26 passed away. 

Foreigners banned from entering Thailand 

On 25 March 2020, Thailand has enacted an Emergency Decree granting wide-ranging powers to the government to mitigate the spreading of covid-19 in Thailand. Subsequently, Thailand has banned foreigners from entering Thailand. As of 2 April 2020, entry to the Kingdom is only permitted to the following persons: 
  1. Persons exempted by the Prime Minister or the Minister or Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs
  2. Carriers of necessary cargo
  3. Pilots-in-command and crew members if they have an explicit schedule to leave again 
  4. Diplomats, representatives of foreign governments, representatives of international organizations or  international agencies with permission to enter Thailand by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including families of such persons
  5. Foreigners holding a work permit under the Smart Visa Scheme
  6. Thai nationals holding a certificate to enter Thailand issued by a Thai embassy. 
Persons of the groups 4), 5) and 6) are required to present a “Fit to Fly Health Certificate” issued no longer than 72 hours before the flight. 

Flights banned from landing in Thailand

Subsequent to the notification of the Thai Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand dated 6 April 2020, all passenger flights to Thailand from 6 to 18 April 2020 have been canceled. 

Exempted are state and military aircraft, emergency landings, technical landings without disembarkation, humanitarian aid and medical equipment, repatriation flights and cargo deliveries. 

All persons arriving in Thailand have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The government is currently preparing centralized quarantine quarters for government-supervised quarantine. 

Extension of visa 

Many foreigners (especially tourists) staying in Thailand on a 15 or 30-day visa exemption currently cannot leave Thailand because many flights have been canceled. Subsequently, many foreigners have to apply for an extension of visa. 
  1. First extension
    People staying in Thailand on a 30 or 15-day visa exemption can extend the stay at an immigration office for a maximum of 30 days. Generally required are a passport photo, the TM6 card (issued upon arrival in Thailand), a TM30 receipt (residence in Thailand), and payment of the filing fee of THB 1,900. However, it is prudent to check beforehand if the local immigration office requires any further documents.
  2. Second extension
    Afurther extension is possible under exceptional circumstances (such as the covid-19 crisis) and requires the additional submission of an embassy letter to support the application. 
  3. Overstay
    Overstaying a visa or a visa exemption is generally subject to a fine of THB 500 per day of overstay, capped at THB 20,000. People overstaying for more than 90 days face an additional ban to enter Thailand for one year. Longer bans depending on the duration of the overstay are possible (up to 10-year entry ban).
  4. Further developments
    The immigration office has announced plans to simplify the extension process for foreigners “stranded” in Thailand. It is also being discussed to waive overstay penalties in some instances. However, no measures have been introduced so far.

Duty to wear masks

All persons are required to wear masks going to government offices. Furthermore, all passengers on trains and other public transport are required to wear masks. Additionally, certain provinces have enacted a general duty to wear masks, for example, Phuket. Violations may be fined. 

Nationwide curfew

The government has introduced a nationwide curfew from 10 pm to 4 am to mitigate the spreading of covid-19 and to prevent crimes. The government has announced that additional measures will be imposed should the current curfew not be effective. 
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