Phuket Sandbox rules are official

BANGKOK,1 July 2021: Thailand’s officially set in stone the rules for the pilot Phuket Sandbox scheme following their posting on the government’s Royal Gazette website on 29 June.

The text of the Royal Gazette describes the destination as the “tourism pilot province” without specifically mentioning the Phuket Sandbox, but that allows other destinations to follow under the same strict entry and supervisory measures if the pilot project in Phuket succeeds.

The above list was obtained from sources in the Thai Hotels Association chapter in Phuket and refers to low to medium risk nationalities that could potentially start the Phuket Sandbox. It has not been verified as official and at the time of posting efforts to obtain an official list of all nationalities, eligible failed,

The project gets underway, although reliable sources in the travel industry say that due to the late confirmation of the terms and the lack of clear identification of the nationalities eligible to enter Thailand under the scheme, airlines could delay flights at least for the first week.

However, the Nation Newspaper quoted and Airports of Thailand saying around 500 international travellers will arrive 1 July. The first flight, Etihad (EV4300), is due to arrive from Abu Dhabi at 1020 followed by Qatar from Doha (QR840), El Al from Tel Aviv (LY87) and Singapore Airlines from Singapore (SQ736). AOT estimates 12,000 visitors will land at Phuket airport on the pilot scheme during July.

According to the order signed off by Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, based on recommendations from the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, entry requirements were published 29 June in the Royal Gazette.  They came into effect today, 1 July.

Sandbox entry rules and measures

Travellers must come from a country or territory fitting the criteria of the Ministry of Public Health based on recommendations by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Tourism of Thailand. The traveller must have been registered in the identified country for at least 21 days before departure.

A letter certifying that a person can enter the Kingdom (Certificate of Entry – COE)

They must provide a medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating a negative RT-PCR Covid–19 test valid up to 72 hours before the departure flight.

Insurance cover of USD100,00 including the cost of Covid-19 treatment valid for the duration of the traveller’s stay.

Proof of payment for accommodation and RT-PCR testing for a stay of 14 days in SHA Plus certified hotels or accommodation.

If the traveller intends to stay for less than 14 days, they must show an airline ticket for the departure flight home that matches the days of their paid stay at authorised accommodation as well the cost of RT-PCR tests.

A vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved in Thailand or on the approved World Health Organization list and valid for not less than 14 days before departure. For those under 18 years of age who are not eligible for vaccination and travelling with a parent or guardian, they must show proof of a valid negative RT-PCR Covid-19 laboratory result valid up to 72 hours before travel.

On arrival in Thailand

Screening measures: In the case of direct airline flight landing at the tourism pilot project province, passengers will undergo screening for respiratory symptoms and fever.

If the passenger is travelling to the province on airlines that do not have a direct flight, the traveller undergoes health screening at the first entry point in Thailand, where they complete immigration formalities before continuing to the destination airport in the tourism pilot province.

Additional screening for respiratory symptoms and fever will take place at the final destination airport when travellers submit documents to the competent official or the communicable disease control officer in the airport of the tourism pilot province.

Travellers must wear a tracking device at all times or install the specified mobile phone applications.

Transfers from the airport to the SHA Plus hotel or accommodation are direct on authorised transport with no intermediate stops.

On arrival at the airport or the hotel, a Covid-19s swab test is carried out paid for by the traveller. The traveller must stay in the hotel until a negative RT-PCR covid-19 test has been confirmed. They are then free to travel outside of the hotel premises but only in the designated province.

The next test is taken on day six or seven or for the period stated by the Ministry of Public Health. Another test is carried out on day 12 or day 13 or as determined by the Ministry of Public Health.

If a traveller tests positive with Covid-19, they will be transferred immediately to an assigned hospital in the programme. The traveller is responsible for all medical expenses.

Travellers who test negative must report to the hotel’s assigned officer on a daily basis during the 14-day stay.  They cannot stay overnight in other accommodation than specified in their booking.

Travellers who are staying in the tourism pilot province for less than 14 days cannot visit other provinces. They must leave the country immediately when the prescribed holiday ends without being able to extend their stay.

Travellers staying in a tourism pilot province for at least 14 days can travel outside the tourism pilot province once the initial 14-day stay has expired. 

However, to travel to other destinations in Thailand, they must show evidence of their negative Covid-19 by RT-PCR test results during the initial 14-day stay and proof of their stay at an authorised accommodation for the same period to show they were resident in a single location and completed all tests with negative results.

Additional notes

Insurance: Should support and encourage travellers to buy insurance policies issued by companies registered in Thailand under the supervision and certification from the Office of Insurance Commission. The insurance policy must also cover the costs of health care and medical treatment in case of asymptomatic Covid-19 infection.

Counting: The length of time the traveller has been in Thailand should begin from the time the traveller is under the supervision of the relevant government agency at the international port of entry.

From 0001 to 1800: Count the date of entry into the Kingdom as the first day (Day one).
From 1801 to 0000: Count the following date of entry as the first day (Day one).