THE Foreign Ministry is moving to increase visa free entry from 30 to 45 days in keeping with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s direction to further ease measures for foreigners entering the country, Sanook.com quoted Voice TV as saying today (Dec. 7, 2020).
This easing of the visa regulation was mentioned at a meeting of an ad hoc committee of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Management which was presided over by the National Security Council Secretary-General Gen. Nathapol Nakpanich and attended by representatives of Foreign and Public Health ministries . The key focus was on coronavirus infected Thais sneaking across the border from Tachileik district in Myanmar to Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.
Mr. Chaturon Chaiyakham, deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Affairs Department, told the meeting that a proposal on this visa change will be tabled to the Prime Minister soon.
This easing of the regulation would benefit visitors from 56 countries who are allowed 30-day visa free entry as well as Russia which has signed an agreement for similar exemption.
The additional 15 days is aimed at compensating for the 14-day quarantine. This step is expected to further help stimulate the economy as the number of tourists is expected to increase from 10,000 to 20,000 per month.
Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Disease Control, told the meeting that currently there is a total of 32 Covid-19 cases from those who have slipped across the border from Myanmar with two of them being domestic infections arising from close contact with those already infected.
Gen. Nathapol said NSC has ordered soldiers and governors to strictly control the border and halt illegal entry through natural channels while tracking down those who have done so for testing and placing in 14-day quarantine.
The public was urged not to worry about the situation in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces as tight control is in place and no more infected people would be able to sneak across from Tachileik.
People can freely travel to these two provinces but should take the necessary precautions, that is wearing face masks, washing hands regularly and avoiding crowded places.
Top: Mae Kok river flowing through Chiang Rai province. Photo: Cloud.shepherd(CC BY 2.0)