Despite a recent scare of two foreigners testing positive for COVID-19 in Thailand, the country’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has allowed medical tourism and wellness programmes to go ahead. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has issued a list of hospitals that pass its criteria, and the first group of medical and wellness tourists will land in Thailand in August. COVID-19 protection requirements are strict however.
The CCSA has reported that 1,700 medical tourists have registered for the programmes. Popular treatments include cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment.
Those seeking COVID-19 treatment are now barred, which will remove a source of income that some private Thai hospitals suffering from a lack of medical tourists, were hoping for.
The CCSA warns that further incidents could stop the programme while inbound travellers in the medical tourism and wellness programmes will be supervised even more closely. They will not be allowed to enter public places while in the programme.
The inbound visitors, arriving under a special visa, will be provided with massage and spa services, fitness programmes, healthy meals and herbal products.
The first batch of visitors will come from 17 countries, including Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Once their 14-day quarantine and treatment are over, the visitors can then travel around Thailand, but cannot enter any public places.
Any medical tourists who test positive for COVID-19 will be treated for the virus in special areas prepared for foreigners.
Medical tourists will undergo COVID-19 tests three times; before flying into Thailand, upon arrival and before flying out of Thailand to return home.
The CCSA says that only medical tourists travelling by air will now be granted entry into Thailand, entry via land borders is prohibited.
All agencies involved, such as the Public Health Ministry, the Department of Health Service Support and hospitals catering to the visitors must tighten up disease control measures.
All visitors must have an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and entry certificates issued by a Thai embassy.
They also must be able to produce proof that they tested negative for COVID-19 before their arrival.
They can only seek treatment at hospitals specified by the government.
Each visitor is allowed to bring up to three attendants with them. All of these are subject to the same screening process as the visitor.
After treatment, the visitors will be placed under quarantine for 14 days at the government-sanctioned hospitals, before they are discharged.
The programme will be operated under strict guidelines, including ensuring general patients are safe and visitors are not allowed to enter public areas.
Summary entry condition requirements:
- Advance booking and registration compulsory
- Must have certificate of entry from a Thai embassy
- Entry only at airports
- 14-day hospital quarantine is mandatory
- Must not have or recently had COVID-19
- Between 1-3 companions allowed
- Treatment only at 62 listed state and private hospitals