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Thailand Reinstates Mandatory COVID-19 Quarantine Over Omicron Concerns

INTERNATIONAL: Thailand will reinstate its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors and scrap a quarantine waiver from Tuesday, 21 December due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The decision to halt Thailand's 'Test and Go' waiver means visitors will have to undergo hotel quarantine, which ranges between 7 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, a so-called "sandbox" programme, which requires visitors to remain in a specific location but allows them free movement outside of their accommodation, will also be suspended in all places except for the tourist resort island of Phuket.

Government spokeswoman, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana has announced that after Dec. 21, there will be no new registrations for 'Test and Go', only quarantine or Phuket sandbox. He added that about 200,000 visitors who had previously registered for the quarantine waiver and sandbox programme will still be eligible.

The announcement came a day after Thailand reported the first case of local transmission of the Omicron variant.

Thailand has detected 63 people infected with the Omicron variant so far, its public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed, with one case of local transmission and the rest being imported cases.

The first locally transmitted case was found in a Thai woman who tested positive for Omicron after contracting the virus from her husband, a Colombian who has returned to Thailand from Nigeria in late November.

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