Travellers from outside of Thailand who have COVID PCR tests that came back positive have a very good chance of getting caught in a web of restrictions that they didn’t know about before they arrived.
Travellers going through the Test & Go scheme If they all got negative results before flying to Thailand, but one person in the family had a positive result on arrival. Other family members may need to be quarantined for 10 days at their own cost, and the hospital may ask for money upfront as well.
Before we get into the warnings of things travellers may not be aware of before travelling to Thailand, let’s first talk a little bit about how travellers can enter without quarantine.
Where can you travel?
As you may already know, Thailand resumes quarantine-free entry, commonly known as “Test & Go.”
This requires travellers to only stay 1 night at a government-approved hotel while waiting for their test results.
On Feb 1, Chun Buri province, where Pattaya and other cities are located, was given the green light by the CCSA to reopen. The second province was Trat, where Ko Chang is located.
Other provinces reopened for the sandbox are here: Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, and Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao)
Sandbox travellers can travel within these destinations during the first 7 days in Thailand and can change accommodation three times (can book 3 different hotels). Check our link in the description for approved government hotels. This means fully vaccinated overseas travellers who are planning to travel to Thailand under the Sandbox programme can choose to undergo their first 7 days anywhere here: Krabi, Phang-Na, Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), Chon Buri (Bang Lamung, Pattaya, Si Racha, Si Chang, and Sattahip – only Na Jomtien and Bang Saray), and Trat (Ko Chang).
Thailand’s guidelines for children who become infected with COVID-19
The first two guidelines seem OK, except for the third one. Let me read you the guidelines.
Regarding concerns from overseas travellers on children who are infected with COVID-19 during their stay in Thailand, the DG of the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health has approved guidelines on healthcare for asymptomatic children and families who are infected with COVID-19, as follows:
- In cases of both a child and his or her parents or guardians are infected, emphasis is placed on ensuring that they stay together and are treated as a family group.
- In cases of only a child is infected, but his or her parents or guardians are NOT infected, the child will receive hospital treatment, while his or her parents or guardians who are younger than 60 years of age, and who have no congenital disease, are able to care for their child at the hospital.
- In cases of a child is NOT infected, but ONLY his or her parents or guardians are infected, another family member may care for the child. If there is no family member or guardian to care for the child, the child is to be placed in a welfare centre or accommodation under the care of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. However, in communities where children are not at risk of catching the virus in large numbers, that community may consider using the local centre for child development to care for children in such cases. The Provincial Committee on Disease Prevention or the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Committee on Disease Prevention will make a decision on this case.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
All government-approved SHA+ and ASQ hotels are where travellers must stay for at least one night while awaiting the results of their tests. These government-approved hotels must have contracts with a certain hospital, generally a private hospital.
If a traveller tests positive, that person has no choice but to be admitted to that specific hospital for 7-10 days at their own expense – generally roughly 10,000 THB or about $300 USD per day. Of course, the medical insurance should cover this, but travellers are frequently asked to pay this amount in advance and then claim the insurance later on their own, risking not getting reimbursed for their hospital charges.
If travellers share a hotel room with a COVID positive person, they too will be quarantined for 7-10 days as high-risk close-contact people. This is normally not covered by insurance, so they would have to pay for it out of pocket.
Travellers must do two PCR tests on the first and fifth days of their trip, and the authorities prefer to test at the same hotel both times. Some visitors wonder if the PCR tests follow the same methods as in their home countries because many claimed positive results when they arrived in Thailand after testing negative 48 hours before departure.
Since health insurance was approved when travellers filed for the Thailand Pass, travellers assume they are fully insured. Although the Thai embassy or consulate accepted their insurance coverage, it may turn out that they are not insured due to the tiny print in the insurance policy when they arrive in Thailand.
The insurance may only cover the incident if the traveller exhibits symptoms or is hospitalized. Regardless of symptoms or the maximum number of days their insurance will cover, Thai hospitals will quarantine a patient based entirely on the medical care protocol of the government at the hospital associated with the traveller’s hotel.
In other cases, the insurance only pays for medical costs if the traveller is hospitalized at a public or government hospital.
An expat in Bangkok helping some of these travellers said the hotel and hospital alliance has been a nightmare for some travellers. The expat came to the conclusion that the best thing to do is avoid flying to Thailand unless this alliance is broken or the insurance policies that embassies accept through the Thailand Pass are in compliance with these hotel-hospital contracts.