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Thailand Reopens to Visitors Ahead of Possible Vaccine Solution

Thailand is reopening slowly to eleven categories of travelers and carefully watching the results

As the worldwide race to find an antidote to the ravages of COVID-19 winds up, Thailand will not be left behind. Earlier this month the Thailand Board of Investment announced that the country is taking additional steps in its reopening process, allowing eleven categories of travelers to enter the country. Thailand recently ranked 2nd out of 184 countries on PEMANDU Associates’ Global COVID-19 Recovery Index for its management of the crisis.

To mitigate health risks posed to its region’s recovery by inaccessible vaccine prices, the Thai Government has invested in the development of a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine that will be provided to ASEAN members, including Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

A study of this COVID-19 vaccine prototype in monkeys, performed by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Center of Thailand, has been deemed successful, according to the NRCT and Thailand is now preparing for human clinical trials in October. The country hopes to start production of the vaccine in Mid-2021. Thailand’s vaccine uses mRNA, similar to a vaccine being developed in the U.S., and Thai researchers have worked in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to utilize this science.

Prior to the spread of COVID-19, the World Economic Forum ranked Thailand 6th in the world for pandemic preparedness in their 2019 Global Health Security Index. With a strong national health system, a regional healthcare network and robust life sciences industry, Thailand has surpassed pandemic management and recovery expectations, emerging as a best practice example for its management of the COVID-19 emergency.

As of June 30, Thailand has had more than a month without community transmission in the country.

Following its success in managing the spread of the virus, Thailand is beginning its reopening process and is beginning to ease travel restrictions. Thailand announced eleven categories of travelers may now enter the country. As part of the mid-pandemic reopening process, Thailand is requiring a Certificate of Entry (COE) for non-citizens.

“The fact that we are able to open our borders to investors and business travelers is a good sign,” said Vorawan Norasucha, Director of the Thailand Board of Investment New York office, “We are optimistic that Thailand will continue to keep the virus under control and soon we will be able to lift travel bans for all visitors.””The progress that has been made on the vaccine is very promising,” added Ms. Norasucha, “Post- pandemic, we anticipate that Thailand will play a larger role in the global healthcare supply chain.”

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, restrictions on who can enter into the kingdom remains in place.

The eleven categories of travelers allowed into the country are as follows: