Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 1, 2020)

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 1, 2020)
Location:  Thailand

Event:  No Transit Through Thailand; Possible Automatic Extension of Thai Visas; Phuket Airport Closure; Mae Hong Son Border Closure; Hotel Closures; Foreign Nationals Must Pay for COVID-19 Treatment

Transit Airline Passengers Now Barred From Entering Thailand
Effective April 1, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) expanded the ban on foreign nationals entering Thailand to include transiting passengers at international airports.  The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand confirmed the previous exemption for most transit passengers expired on March 31 and would not be extended.  Very limited transit exemptions remain in place for foreign cargo carriers, crew, and pilots, provided they promptly depart Thailand after fulfilling their duties.

Diplomats and foreigners with work permits are also still allowed to enter Thailand with a “fit-to-fly certificate” issued within 72 hours of travel and, in the case of diplomats, a “certificate of entry” issued by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Possible Automatic Extension of Thai Tourist Visas
To reduce crowding at immigration service centers, the Thai government is considering a temporary, automatic extension of visas for travelers who have been affected by COVID-19 travel obstacles.  A Cabinet decision on the issue is expected in the next day or so.

Phuket International Airport Closure Confirmed
The Provincial Government of Phuket confirmed the closure of the Phuket International Airport from April 10-30, 2020.  Travelers should expect flights in or out of Phuket to cease beginning at 12:01 a.m. April 10.  Please visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website for updated information.  Additional information about restrictions across Thailand can be found at the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control COVID-19 website.

Hotels Suspend Operations
A number of hotels in Thailand have announced that they are suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Hotels that suspend operations may ask guests to leave immediately.  Travelers should be prepared for further hotel closures throughout Thailand, including the resort island of Phuket, with little or no advance notice.

Mae Hong Son Border Closure
Mae Hong Son province announced that effective today (April 1, 2020) all foreigners are barred from entering Mae Hong Son province and there will be a daily curfew prohibiting anyone from leaving their residence from 10 pm to 4 am.  The announcement is available in Thai on the province’s website:  Phitsanulok Province also requested that anyone in the province stay at home from 11 pm to 5 am beginning April 1.

Foreign Nationals Must Pay for COVID-19 Treatment
The Ministry of Public Health confirmed that foreign nationals are required to pay for any treatment for the COVID-19 virus received after the March 22 requirement for non-Thai citizens entering Thailand to present virus-free medical certificate and health insurance.  Payment is required for treatment at both public and private hospitals.

Transportation In and Out of Thailand
We advise temporary visitors in Thailand to arrange for immediate return to the United States while there is still an opportunity.  All flight routes are subject to cancellation without notice, and many flights are heavily booked.  Hub countries with connections to the United States are also imposing increasingly strict requirements.  For verified information about the COVID-19 situation in other countries, please visit:

There are currently no government restrictions or requirements for U.S. citizens departing Thailand or entering the United States.  However, travelers should be prepared for domestic travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice that may make travel to the airport in Thailand difficult.  Options for forms of domestic travel (including airplanes, buses, public vans, and trains) are also decreasing throughout Thailand.  U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.  U.S. citizens should consider booking flights to major points of entry into the United States and then arrange for further domestic travel upon arrival.  

Many travelers worldwide have reported unexpected flight cancellations and limited flight availability and seats.  If your travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline.  The Airports of Thailand webpage provides updates on scheduled and cancelled flights out of Thailand.

There have been further reductions of commercial flights with connections to the United States.  We expect this trend to continue.  Please refer to the above-reference Airports of Thailand (AOT) webpage and/or download the AOT app for iOS and Android for the most up-to-date information.

Today (April 1, 2020) there are six flights from Chiang Mai International Airport to Bangkok, less than half the number of flights operating last week.  There are no international flights departing from Chiang Mai International Airport.

Key Points on COVID-19:

  • Widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring globally.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.
  • Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease.
  • There may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas of Thailand.
  • US residents may have difficulty returning to the United States.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Thai regulations now require the wearing of face masks in public.
  • All international travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.

For more the most up-to-date information visit the CDC page on Novel Coronavirus and the CDC Travelers Health Page for travelers to Thailand.  Information is also available through the World Health Organization.

Actions to Take: