The National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC) has approved a plan to replace RT-PCR tests with antigen testing for visitors travelling from 63 eligible countries and territories who are allowed to enter Thailand without the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Speaking after a meeting of the NCDC, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the replacement is in line with the second phase of the reopening starting from Dec 1.

The change will apply to visitors under the “test and go” scheme, with vaccination certificates, and RT-PCR certificates issued 72 hours prior to their travel. Upon arrival, they will undergo antigen testing from time to time, he said. There will currently be no changes to the travel insurance requirements currently imposed.

Under the “test and go” scheme, visitors from the 63 countries are exempted from quarantine and require just a single night at a hotel certified by the Safety and Health Administration Plus standard while waiting for their RT-PCR test result.

Under the plan, visitors will be allowed to enter by boat and on land, in addition to air travel which is the only entry mode currently, Dr Opas said.

The move comes after information shows that the rate of infections from foreign visitors, including travellers under the test and go scheme, was low at only 0.08%, Dr Opas said.

However, entry by land will be limited to safe border passes, with strict health screening to be put in place, Dr Opas said.

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