Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand (April 4, 2020)
Event: Incoming Commercial Flights Banned from 4-6 April 2020; Nation-wide Curfew In Effect; Phuket Hotels Closed Starting April 4
CAAT Bans All Arriving Commercial Aircraft from 4-6 April 2020
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has issued a notification prohibiting all regularly scheduled commercial aircraft from flying to airports in Thailand from 00:01 a.m. on April 4 to 11:59 p.m. on April 6. Still permitted are state or military aircraft, aircraft requesting emergency landing/technical landing, humanitarian aid/medical/relief flights, aircraft allowed to make repatriation flights, and cargo aircraft. Passenger aircraft which had left the origin airports before the notification was issued will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
U.S. citizens traveling this weekend should check directly with their airlines regarding their scheduled departure as your flight may or may not be affected by the temporary ban. (Please see “Transportation Into and Out of Thailand” below for more information on flight availability).
A nation-wide curfew is currently in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.. Except for emergency medical care and travel to and from the airport, U.S. citizens should remain in their residences and hotel rooms during those hours.
Phuket Hotels Ordered Closed
The Provincial Government of Phuket has ordered all licensed hotels in Phuket to close effective Saturday, April 4, 2020 until further notice. Existing guests may remain in hotels until their departure but hotels will not be allowed to accept new guests.
Phuket International Airport Closure
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 depart Thailand should book their departure flights now, while departure flights are still available, or prepare to stay in Phuket indefinitely.
Provincial Border 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 2, local authorities will require all foreigners who enter Chiang Mai province to quarantine (or isolate) 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. U.S. citizens who reside outside of Chiang Mai Province and plan to travel to the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai to seek emergency services should email email@example.com before attempting to enter Chiang Mai Province.
Chiang Rai: Beginning April 1, 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 1, the provincial government has barred all foreigners from entering Mae Hong Son province. There will be a daily curfew prohibiting anyone from leaving their residence from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.. The announcement is available in Thai on the province’s website: http://www.maehongson.go.th/th/.
Transportation Into and Out of Thailand
We strongly advise temporary visitors in Thailand to arrange for immediate return to the United States while there is still an opportunity.
International commercial flight options currently exist in Thailand. U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. The U.S. government does not anticipate arranging repatriation flights from Thailand at this time.
The following airlines currently have flights within the next few weeks from Bangkok to the United States: Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa. Please reach out to the airlines directly to book 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 3, Japan will no longer allow arriving passengers from the United States or Thailand to enter the country. Passengers may transit Japan as long as they do not have to process through Immigration. 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.
All airlines are operating on a reduced flight schedule. 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 4, 2020) there are five 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. Due to additional airlines canceling domestic flight operations, next week there is currently an average of two flights per day from Chiang Mai International Airport to Bangkok.
Hotels Suspend Operations
In addition to the newly announced Phuket hotel closures discussed above, 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 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.
- In the future, U.S. 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:
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Thailand.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
- Visit the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Public’s Health English-language COVID-19 page for updates on the situation in Thailand.
- U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: +66 2 205 4049
+66 2 205 4000 (after hours)
American Citizens Services
- U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai, Thailand (serving U.S. citizens in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaengphet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Petchabun, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and Uttaradit provinces)
Telephone: +66 053 107 700
+66 2 205 4000 (after hours)
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Thailand Country Information
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