It’s important to preface this article by saying a lot can happen between now and October. However, it appears quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui will likely start on October 1 assuming each location can reach certain benchmarks.
These include each destination managing to build up herd immunity by having 70 percent of local residents vaccinated for COVID-19. This process isn’t expected to start until June. Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has laid out a few other eligibility requirements that it wants implemented before signing off on quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui.
The most notable requirement would be that only visitors from countries with a vaccination rate of 70 percent or above would be allowed to travel to Phuket and Samui without needing to quarantine. A report from TTR Weekly suggested the government could look to sign bilateral agreements with countries meeting this benchmark in order to facilitate two-way travel.
With their own international airports and island locations, quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui starting on October 1 is seen as more practical than opening up all of Thailand. That being said, some freedom of movement in Samui is expected.
Select groups eligible for shorter quarantine
Quarantine-free travel isn’t likely to happen before October, but the Public Health Ministry is expected to reduce current requirements from 14 days to 7-10 days for approved groups. Both Thai and non-Thai citizens who are vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19 would be eligible for the seven day quarantine.
The National Committee on Communicable Diseases recently approved the use of vaccine passports in Thailand which has expedited the country’s move towards a shorter quarantine. The government would use that document to determine if a person entering the country was eligible. Anyone that had tested negative but was not vaccinated would need a 10-day quarantine while some groups would still be required to remain isolated for 14 days.
It remains to be seen if a vaccine passport would be a requirement for quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui in October or if a negative test would simply be enough.