Covid 19 to be endemic in Thailand by July 2022

Covid 19 to be endemic in Thailand by July 2022. This is what the government is saying at present Thailand has introduced a plan to reduce Covid-19 to endemic status in the Kingdom by the first of July 2022. This was announced to the Associated Press on March 9th after the meeting of the National Communicable Disease Committee. The announcement was made by the Health Minister, Anutin Charnviralkul . The committee had agreed on four proposals at the meeting and one of the four will be the principle of management and preventive measures to support the shift of the Covid-19 to an endemic disease.

What is an Endemic Disease?

Covid-19 to be Endemic in Thailand by July 2022
Thailand to move towards Covid-19 as Endemic by July 1st 2022

An endemic disease is a disease that is always present in a population or region.

A baseline number of the population is expected to have the disease at any one point.

Every year, for an endemic disease, there will be a certain number of expected cases of that disease. These are expected and are dealt with by the health care system. Endemic diseases that everyone knows, are the common flu, malaria, syphilis, and HIV.

Therefore what Thailand is saying is that they will take steps to declare Covid-19 endemic to Thailand.

There will be an expected number of cases that will exist inside Thailand and the health care system will handle it.

From The Ministry of Health

Minister, Anutin said that the departments concerned, have been notified to manage measures necessary to take Covid-19 to endemic status. These would include, measures covering travel, domestic surveillance, investigations of disease, management of vaccines, and disease prevention and control measures The Minister also stressed that although Covid-19 would be endemic, the public must continue to follow all recommended public health preventive measures, such as wearing of masks, and washing of hands.

When being asked if the Emergency Decree would be cancelled once Covid-19 became endemic, Anutin did not, answer the question. He did say the decree is only in place to manage the pandemic and for no other reason.

The 4 Phases to move to Endemic

The Ministry has a 4 month plan to take Covid-19 from it’s current pandemic status to endemic by July 2022. The plan will use a 3 plus 1 approach (4 phases):

Phase 1 – Combat (March 12th – Early April) The number of daily infections must be brought under control and not to be higher than the current number. Various measures would be implemented to reduce the outbreak and severity. (these measures have not been outlined yet, but will include all measures currently in place). The mandatory quarantine period would also reduced. Though the number of days has not been specified.

Phase 2 – Plateau (April – May) During this period the plan is to maintain the stable level of daily infections until it gradually decreased.

Phase 3 – Declining (Late May – June 30th). The number of infections must be reduced to 1,000 to 2,000 cases. It is not clear if these numbers are not met, what will happen.

Pase 4 – Post Pandemic (July 2022 onward). The Covid-19 pandemic disease would be shifted from the pandemic to an endemic disease. Once the disease is endemic to the population then Thailand should get back to normal. Whatever normal is for Thailand.

“All action plans would need to be implemented within four months under a surveillance of a subcommittee of disease control. About nine additional regulations also needed to be amended to support the change, mentioning the social adjustment, guidelines, and standards which we had to wait for further details”

Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiatpoom Wongrachit

In addition to the above, Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Director General of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), added that in order to approach endemic, the mortality rate must not exceed 1 in a 1,000 cases or 0.1 percent. But, now we were at 0.19-0.2 percent, so it had not yet reached the target. The majority of deaths were risk group 608 (elderly people/ patients with health conditions/ pregnant women) which must be reduced to 0.1% or half.

Moving Forward

Thailand is working towards fully opening the country up again to encourage the tourist dollars that make things go here. It has been noted that the Thailand Pass and the continuing presence of mandatory Insurance for Tourists is a deterrent for travelers to Thailand.

Map of South East Asia

The neighboring countries have reduced or eliminated similar requirements in order to encourage tourism.

The neighboring countries have reduced or eliminated similar requirements in order to encourage tourism.

As of the second week in March 2022 the Philippines require only a pre-flight PCR test, followed by “self monitoring” for a week after arrival. Cambodia does require an ATK test, taken at the airport on arrival, but claims the process takes only 20 minutes. Malaysia has plans to introduce visas on arrival from April 1, with evidence of a pre-flight PCR test and “an ATK test taken within 24 hours of arrival”, although the precise bureaucracy is not clear.

Vietnam and Laos are currently reviewing their policies for tourists entering their boarders. The biggest hurdle at present seems to be the requirement to join a tour group for anyone visiting. At present all land boarders into Thailand remain closed to foreign tourists, though there have been reports of some crossings at the Cambodia and Laos boarder crossings. Opening of the boarder crossings is under review and may be in place for the July first declaration of CCovid-19 as an endemic disease. However, as we have seen in the 4 phase plan above that date is far from certain.

Thailand is reviewing the mandatory $20,000 insurance for tourists, though given the problems seen in the past with unpaid hospital bills by tourists some form of travel insurance is likely to remain for tourists coming to Thailand.

In summation

At the moment travel agents agree that the biggest reason long distance travelers (European and Western) are not returning to Thailand is the government requirements to pre-register on the Thailand Pass system and the $20,000 USD insurance requirement. Declaring Covid-19 as an Endemic disease, will go a long way towards Thailand being able to put Covid-19 restrictions and regulations away.

Until this happens Covid-19 will be difficult to deal with and Thailand Pass and Insurance requirements will continue to be the norm. The authorities appear to be focused on travel bubbles with India and other markets that are closer to hand. However these travel bubbles are not Thailand’s traditional markets and it is unclear if they will be worthwhile.

Thailand wants to hit a target of over 600 billion baht from tourism for 2022. If they do not reduce or eliminate the hassles of traveling into the Kingdom soon, those targets will be impossible to hit

Leave a Comment

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.