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Stay away...

Thailand is shut to visitors


Link Here26th March 2020
Foreign visitors have been barred from entering Thailand after a state of emergency has come into effect.The ban applies to all ports of entry -- land, air or sea -- with limited exceptions for the likes of diplomats. Foreign residents with work permits are allowed to return to Thailand but there are onerous documentation requirements for a negative covid lab test and health insurance.

The emergency also means that public assembly of large groups is forbidden, as is news coverage the government deems untrue, incites panic or threatens national security. Elderly Thais are instructed to stay home except for essential trips such as to see a doctor or buy food.

Domestic travel restrictions are not nationally enacted but provincial governors can set their own rules.

 

 

No compassion: Rules is rules...

Thai Immigration will give 30 day extensions for all foreigners stranded in Thailand as long as you jump through hoops. Those that don't will be fined


Link Here24th March 2020
Thai Immigration has published an emergency document stating that 30 day extensions will be available for foreigners stranded in Thailand by the covid-19 crisis.

The most straight forward cases are for those with tourist visas or 30 day visa exempt entries.

Those on non immigrant visas still need to obtain a letter from their embassies stating that the foreigner is stranded.  For British citizens this letter may be obtained by email. See article from gov.uk

There is also a catch all extension for those that don't qualify under the above. This seem to require authorisation from a high ranking police officer though.

Update: Immigration won't let go of overstay fines

24th March 2020. See article from thephuketnews.com

Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin told The Phuket News on 23rd March that foreigners needing to stay in Thailand, or unable to travel home, need to obtain a letter from their embassy requesting the Thai Immigration Bureau to allow them to extend their stay in the country.

If a foreigner's permit to stay is about to expire and they cannot get a letter from their embassy, or their embassy refuses to issue them a letter, we have no regulation that can help them, Lt Col Udom explained. We can only wait for any new policies to come from the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok, he said.

My advice is for foreigners to urge their embassies to issue them a letter requesting a 30-day extension. If their visas expire, they will be charged for B500 a day overstay in accordance with the law, Lt Col Udom confirmed.

 

 

Extended emergency...

Phuket Immigration to give 30 day extensions to stranded farangs as long as they jump through a hoop of getting an embassy letter


Link Here21st March 2020
On Wednesday the Tourism Minister said that he'd been discussing the problem of overstaying tourists and visitors, due to a lack of flights or border closures in their home countries, with Thailand's immigration officials. Now some immigration offices are announcing an official clemency.

In Phuket, foreigners stranded in Thailand due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak may apply to Phuket Immigration for a 30 day visa extension to avoid the need to travel.

The extensions will cost the standard 1,900 each. But it's not quite as simple as all that. Udom said that any foreigners seeking to extend their visas will require a letter from the embassy or consulate of their home country.

The letter must be from the embassy or consulate requesting that the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau allow the foreigner to stay in the country longer. It must name the foreigner and it must have the sentence that the foreigner 'is unable to travel due to the COVID-19 coronvirus situation.' It must be an actual letter, hand over with a copy of their passport at the Phuket Immigration Office during office hours.

 

 

Updated: Closed...

The authorities have closed Pattaya bars as a measure against coronavirus


Link Here17th March 2020
Thailand's public health minister and deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul has told a press conference that the Public Health Ministry will suggest additional precautions to the government and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday, including the temporary closure of bars and entertainment venues, including nightclubs, concerts, live music venues and other venues where people congregate.

Anutin says these measure would be to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus , and would be based on zone-by-zone decisions by the government and coronavirus response teams.

Anutin announced several other measures will be suggested to the PM, to include potential limitation of travel for Songkran and enforced cancellation of private cultural and local festivals.

 

Update: Songkran postponed

16th March 2020. See article from nationthailand.com

A meeting of the Covid-19 Administration Centre, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, approved a motion to postpone the Songkran holidays from April 13-15 to later dates. The meeting cited the reason of increasing social distance and minimising public movement both domestically and internationally.

The new date for Songkran will be announced later.

On the topic of bar clsoures, the government agreed to close all venues with a capacity for more than 50 people, such as entertainment premises, boxing stadiums, and universities, and the topic will be discussed agaon on 17th March.

 

Update: Closed

17th March 2020. See article from thepattayanews.com

The Provincial Government of Banglamung and Chonburi have ordered, effective from March 18th, 2020, that all entertainment venues must close until March 31st, 2020.

This effects ALL bars, cinemas, sports venues, karaoke bars, nightclubs, gogos, beer bars, massage parlors, Gentlemen clubs, etc. This is regardless of the size of the venue or bar.

It does NOT effect restaurants, malls or shops which may stay open, but must ensure proper hygiene measures and at least one meter between patrons.

The Pattaya News notes this is also NOT a lockdown, people are free to move about as normal.

So now the Pattaya GoGo count stands at zero for the forseeable future.

 

 

Thailand puts the shutters up to most tourists...

No more visas on arrival and a mandatory tracking app for the rest


Link Here12th March 2020
The government has decided to suspend Visa on Arrival (VoA) for visitors from 18 countries at a meeting on March 11, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, also head of the Covid-19 management centre.

Countries affected are Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (include Taiwan) , Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Republic of Vanuatu.

All visitors to Thailand should contact the Thai embassy in their countries prior to travel. The cancellation of visa-free entry also applies to high-risk countries ( Italy, South Korea) and Hong Kong).

Starting from tomorrow (March 12 ), all foreign tourists arriving at all international airports in Thailand will be required to download an AOT Airports application onto their mobile phones. The requirement also applies to Thai returnees from high risk countries.

Once the app is downloaded, they will have to fill in the required information - name, surname, passport ID , mobile phone number, e-mail address and present them to the immigration officials on duty . The information will be stored for 14 days after arrival.

In the case of a virus-infected person, the information given will enable related state agencies to trace contacts.

There are n mentions of what happens if a traveller does not have a mobile phone, or a current data package.

 

 

True Moves on Tesco...

Tesco Lotus sold to 7 Eleven


Link Here9th March 2020
UK retailer Tesco has agreed to sell its Tesco Lotus operation in Thailand and Malaysia for ($10.6bn) 8bn.

The supermarket chain has 2,000 stores across both countries, under the Tesco Lotus brand, and is selling them to Thai conglomerate CP Group, perhaps most well known locally for its 7 Eleven convenience store network and the True telecoms company.

Tesco revealed in December it had received interest for its Asian stores, which employ about 60,000 people, but did not reveal the bidders.

The proposed sale was unanimously agreed by the Tesco board, but needs approval from shareholders and regulators. The deal is set to be finalised in the second half of this year.


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