The Corona Virus casts its shadows: In January / February 2020, the Corona Virus spreads from China worldwide. In Thailand, flight connections to and from China were therefore discontinued, as a result there are hardly any Chinese in Thailand anymore.
Some hotels that had specialized in Chinese tourists were temporarily closed. Others lower prices. For the same reason, beaches and the large shopping centers are suddenly much emptier and much quieter than usual.
Westerners are recapturing Thailand’s beaches.
Since many of the tour buses are now at a standstill, the otherwise chaotic traffic in and around the tourist centers has become much calmer.
But the development of the virus is also taking place in other countries. Cruise ships were not allowed to dock or were quarantined for a long time and the passengers were not allowed to disembark.
An entire hotel with around 1000 guests was quarantined on Tenerife island. In northern Italy, infected people were increasingly reported and several places were closed off from the outside world. Shortly after however, the whole country was put under quarantaene.
Italy becomes the center epicenter of the virus in Europe.
When I look at the development, I wonder whether we can fly to Thailand or the Philippines again in the next season 2020/21 or whether all air traffic will be stopped by then …
10.03.2020 Thailand has now also imposed special measures on entry for holidaymakers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and 7 other countries.
For example, in Penang for example you can get a new Visa only if you can present a medical certificate.
13.03.2020 Some banks, especially Kasikorn Bank, are closing their exchange offices and also the exchange counters in the branches.
23.03.2020 Although there are still relatively few confirmed cases of corona infected people in Thailand (599), drastic measures are still being decided.
In the meantime, it is becoming more and more apparent that the Corona Virus Test used is very imprecise and has not gone through the usual series of tests. The numbers should therefore be treated with caution worldwide and in both directions.
Health certificate (Corona Test) & health insurance required
Starting Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 you can only travel to Thailand if you can present a health certificate with a negative corona test and a health insurance that covers at least US $ 100,000 and treatment of the Covid-19 case at check in.
Many Thais have already been stranded abroad, as it is almost impossible to get such a test quickly, at least in Europe.
Airlines cancel many flights
Numerous national and international airlines have canceled their flights. Emirates already announced yesterday evening (March 22nd), that it will cease all passenger operations. Only cargo flights will continue to be served.
Bangkok Airways has discontinued all international routes and is no longer flying to Koh Samui. This practically excludes the island from air traffic.
Thai Lion Air will stop all flight operations on March 25th, 2020. until 01.05 or the end of the Corona crisis.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) also announced on March 23, 2020 that it will reduce its capacity by more than 90% because the demand for air travel has dropped dramatically due to movement restrictions related to corona viruses.
138 of the 147 aircraft in the airline’s fleet, including those of the group airline Silk Air and the low-cost airline Scoot from Singapore Airlines, will be grounded.
Also Thai Airways grounds all Flights
On March 24th, Thai Airways anounced, that it will ground all services in Asia on 25 March, followed by Australia on 27 March and Europe
on 1st April. The grounding will be until end of May.
Some domestic flights will be serviced by Thai Smile.
Nationwide, most amusement shops such as bars, discos, pubs, etc. have closed.
Shopping malls in Bangkok closed
In Bangkok, all major shopping malls will be closed from Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 until April 12th, 2020 at least.
All Restaurants in Thailand should only be allowed to operate delivery services and the famous Songkran festival is already postponed indefinitely.
Strict controls now when entering Thailand. Anyone who cannot present the necessary documents (see above) will be rejected.
Visa extensions due to Corona Virus
Since some neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, have now closed their national borders with Thailand, it has become difficult to make a border-run or visa run.
Immigration therefore offers stranded foreigners additional visa extensions. This probably also applies to the 30 day entry stamp. Before, only 1 extension was possible for 30 days.
All Borders are closed for foreigners
26.03.2020: The government’s emergency decree has been in force in Thailand since today. All borders of the country, on water, on land and at airports are closed to foreigners.
Thais of course, are allowed to return home from abroad.
Also foreigners with a residence permit (long term visa) may still enter and stay in the Thailand.
Many Thais who have temporarily lost their jobs in the cities and tourist centers want to travel to their home provinces, but this is actually prohibited. And so they crowded, at the bus stations to get hold of one of the few remaining seats …
In the past weeks there was also health insurance offered in Thailand, which was quite cheap and was only intended for treatments of Covid-19 disease. This insurance has now been discontinued.
27.03.2020 Some Thai Embassies stop Visa Service
The Thai embassies in neighboring countries of Thailand have announced that they will suspend visa services until further notice.
Thailand’s Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia said it was restricting services to just issuing medical treatment visas (MT or Non-Immigrant O) while the Thai Embassies in Vientiane, (Laos) and Yangon (Myanmar) both announced on their Facebook pages the suspension of all visa services effective 25 March