Thailand Reports First Local Omicron Case, Eyes Reinstating Quarantine

PARIS, France – Thailand is considering reinstating mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors due to concerns over the spread of Omicron, as the health ministry reported on Monday the country’s first case of local transmission of the coronavirus variant.

The public health ministry will propose scrapping a quarantine waiver for vaccinated visitors and revert to hotel quarantine and a ‘sandbox’ programme, which allows free movement in specific locations, minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

The proposal was driven by worries over the spread of Omicron, Anutin told the Inside Thailand television show, adding it will be made to the government’s COVID-19 taskforce ‘soon’.

The minister’s remarks come after Thailand reopened to foreign visitors in November, ending nearly 18 months of strict entry policies that contributes to a collapse in tourism, a key industry and economic driven that drew 40 million visitors in 2019.

Thailand had detected 63 people infected with the Omicron variant so far, Anutin said, with one case of local transmission and the rest imported cases.