Thailand announced on Friday it would drop rules requiring people to wear masks outdoors and that foreign visitors no longer need to register before traveling as Covid-19 cases plummet and the kingdom tries to push back tourists. to lure.
Face masks have been mandatory in Thailand in public, including outdoors, since mid-2021, when the Delta variant was rampant.
But now that the pandemic has subsided, the tourism-dependent kingdom has gradually eased covid restrictions in a bid to increase visitor numbers.
Thailand’s relaxation on face masks comes after similar moves from regional peers, including Cambodia and Singapore.
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for Thailand’s Covid Task Force, said wearing masks outside would become voluntary but still recommended in crowded areas, entertainment venues and on public transport.
He said the health ministry would announce further details about the relaxation of the mask, including when it would come into effect.
On July 1, the government will also end the “Thailand Pass” system, requiring foreign tourists to register and show proof of vaccination and health insurance before flying to the kingdom.
Visitors must carry vaccination certificates or undergo Covid testing on arrival.
The move is seen as an effort to bolster the sputtering economy, which has seen growth hammered by the pandemic and rising costs of living.
According to government data, there were more than 1.6 million foreign tourists in the first six months of 2022, with foreign tourist receipts at 99.7 billion baht.
This compares to about 40 million foreign tourists who visited Thailand in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.
Daily Covid-19 cases have fluctuated below 3,500 in recent weeks, with deaths falling below 50 per day for a month.
More than three-quarters of the population has been stung with two doses of vaccine, with more than 40 percent also receiving a booster dose.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)