THE NATION/ANN – Over 1,700 medical tourists have registered to enter Thailand from July 1 but strict quarantine will prevent any from importing COVID-19, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced on Friday.
Among the first foreigners to be allowed back into the country, medical tourists will be allowed to travel around Thailand from August 1, once their 14-day quarantine and treatment had been completed, said CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin.
Special tour packages for medical tourists will include massage and spa, fitness centres, healthy food, herbal products, and visa services, while accommodation will be provided by hotels with the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certificates and the ‘Well Hotel’ standard.
The first batch of 1,700 medical tourists come from 17 countries, including Myanmar (478), Laos (477), Vietnam (39), China (65), the United Arab Emirates (223), Oman (187), Kuwait (137), Qatar (95) and Saudi Arabia (14).
‘Villa Quarantine’, for foreigners who stay in their accommodation and do not travel, could be ready by August, said Taweesin.Meanwhile, a September launch date was being eyed for the ‘travel bubble’ plan to allow entry to foreigners from countries at low-risk of COVID-19 transmission, he added.
The medical tourism and wellness programme offers two types of quarantine depending on treatment: Hospital Quarantine for patients receiving short treatments within their 14-day quarantine and Alternative Hospital Quarantine for longer procedures such as infertility treatment Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer (GIFT).
Taweesin emphasised that all patients must complete the 14-day quarantine even if they recover early since COVID-19 can be detected on the very last day of quarantine. Any medical tourists who test positive for COVID-19 can continue with virus treatment in separate areas prepared for foreigners at private hospitals.
Medical tourists will be tested three times for COVID-19- before departing for Thailand, on arrival, and before returning home. Only medical tourists who travel by air would be granted entry to Thailand and all must be carrying a certificate of entry (CoE) from a Thai embassy.
At least 62 private hospitals have registered as quarantine hospitals for medical tourists.