On Wednesday, April 8, authorities announced that all visas for foreigners who entered Thailand legally would be automatically extended until Thursday, April 30, to avoid lines at government buildings amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The extension is valid for all foreigners whose visas were due to expire between Thursday, March 26, and April 30. The government has also stated that if necessary, this measure will be extended on a month-by-month basis.
Earlier the government decreed migrant workers with expiring work permits would be permitted to stay in the country until Thailand reopens its borders without having to apply for an extension.
Earlier measures remain in effect. Effective 14:00 (local time) on Thursday, April 9, Pattaya municipality entered a lockdown, with travel into the city prohibited except for residents or those who work there. Police checkpoints will be setup along major routes to enforce compliance. Mask-wearing in public will be mandatory. The lockdown is scheduled to last until Thursday, April 30.
Additionally, Thai authorities announced the extension of school closures nationwide until Wednesday, July 1. Schools had previously been closed until Saturday, May 16.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced on Monday, April 6, that they will be extending the ban of all international flights to Saturday, April 18. All state and military aircraft, emergency landings, humanitarian, medical, cargo, and repatriation flights will be exempt from the measure.
On Sunday, April 5, authorities in Songkhla province announced that entry into and exit from the province would be banned effective 23:59 (local time) on Sunday. The province's borders will remain closed until Thursday, April 30. A handful of exceptions to the travel ban will be made for people needing to travel for work in essential sectors, including transport, energy, finance, consumer products, and public health. The shutdown of businesses, venues, and public spaces in the province was extended until April 30. Businesses including many marketplaces, department stores, restaurants with the exception of delivery and take out services, barber shops, and exhibition venues were previously shut until Sunday, April 12. Public parks and beaches have also been closed in a number of municipalities as part of the extension.
The mayor of Koh Samui island (Thailand's second-largest island) also ordered a ban on all travel to the island from April 6 until, April 30. During the entry ban, people will be prohibited from visiting Koh Samui with the exception of those with a health certificate issued by a public hospital in the previous 72 hours before entering the island, which confirms that they do not have the virus. Further exceptions to the ban will include individuals working in essential sectors, such as public health, energy, finance, consumer products, and postal services. Transport by ferry will be the only mode of transportation during the entry ban as the Koh Samui airport will be closed for the remainder of the month on Tuesday, April 7.
As of Thursday, April 9, Thailand has confirmed 2423 cases of the virus, with 32 deaths and 940 recoveries.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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