Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 2, 2020)

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 2, 2020)
Location:  Thailand

Event:  Nation-wide Curfew Announced; Bangkok Parks; Increasing Provincial Border Closures; Phuket Airport to Close Operations Next Week (Book Departure Flights Now); Hotel Closures

Nation-wide Curfew
Today the Prime Minister’s office announced a nation-wide curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., beginning on April 3.  Except for emergency medical care, U.S. citizens should remain in their residences and hotel rooms during those hours.

Bangkok Announces Park Closures
In Bangkok, all public and private parks are ordered closed until April 30 as well.  For more information on these closures please visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website.

Increasing Provincial order Closures
Several provinces have begun restricting entry into or travel through their provinces.  These restrictions may be implemented with little or no advance notice and can include a thorough inspection of travelers, mandatory quarantines, or outright prohibition on entry for non-residents.  These restrictions will make domestic travel between provinces increasingly difficult.

Chiang Mai: Beginning April 2nd, local authorities will quarantine all foreigners who enter Chiang Mai province at their residence or in a location provided by the Department of Disease Control.  People who violate the quarantine may be fined 100,000 baht, sentenced to one year in prison, or both.  The announcement is available in Thai on the Facebook page for Chiang Mai’s Provincial Office for Public Health: https://www.facebook.com/100901577933751/posts/226414998715741/?d=n

Chiang Rai: Beginning April 1st, the governor of Chiang Rai province ordered the search of all vehicles entering the province. Authorities will not allow the entry of travelers who cannot explain why they need to enter the province, travelers who are not wearing a mask, and travelers who do not cooperate with health officials. Anyone entering the province will need to provide their contact details and undergo a health screening.  The announcement is available in Thai on the province’s Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1910729662393830&id=165001746966639&__tn__=%2As%2As-R

Mae Hong Son: Beginning April 1st, the provincial government has barred all foreigners 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: http://www.maehongson.go.th/th/.

Phuket International Airport Closure Confirmed
As reported yesterday, 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 12:01a.m. April 10.  Any U.S. citizens remaining in Phuket who wish to return to depart Thailand should book their departure flights now, while departure flights are still available, or prepare to stay in Phuket indefinitely.

Any U.S. citizens in Phuket who are having trouble booking departure flights before the April 10 deadline, please email the American Citizens Services unit at acsbkk@state.gov.

Transportation Into 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.  There are no plans for U.S. government-organized evacuation flights.  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.  Beginning midnight local time on April 3rd, Japan will no longer allow arriving passengers from the U.S. or Thailand to enter the country.  For verified information about the COVID-19 situation in other countries, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html.

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.

Today, Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines announced they will each reduce their flights out of Bangkok to six per week.  We expect this trend of decreasing flight opportunities 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 2, 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.

Hotels Suspend Operations
A number of hotels in Thailand have announced that they are suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Almost all major hotels in Chiang Mai are closed.  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.

Royal Thai Government COVID Information
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.

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:

Assistance: