As Covid-19 cases continue to multiply in Bangkok, provincial governors are putting the kibosh on travel plans. For many Songkran travelers, the restrictions are coming at the eleventh hour.
Early this morning, news broke that Trang would require a 14-day quarantine or a negative Covid-19 test for visitors arriving from the
red orange zones of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakarn. That left many scrambling. Not to mention fuming.
“You announce it today, but I fly tomorrow. How am I supposed to get myself [tested] in time? I booked my flights long ago, and I didn’t call the airline [about changing them] since there were no announcements before this. So, what can I do now? The roundtrip is almost B8,000! Why won’t the government quarantine those who are most at risk? This is just putting an unnecessary burden onto citizens!” wrote Facebook user NOnz Kim.
“We are at the airport now awaiting a flight to Trang! Does this mean we will have to quarantine when we arrive?” he wrote on Barrow’s post sharing the official news about Trang’s restrictions.
“Thank you Richard for the info,” he continued. “We got our bags back off the flight as we were told quarantine was most likely upon arrival. Thai Lion Air have refused to refund the flight, but the lovely people at Mookies Bungalows on Koh Mook have agreed to refund so not all bad.”
Other provinces have placed similar restrictions on travelers arriving from the five regions listed above. In the past 24 hours, Khon Kaen, Songkhla, and Nan joined Buriram, Chiang Mai, and Prachuap Khiri Khan in enforcing 14-day quarantines for arrivals from the five central provinces. These destinations currently accept negative Covid-19 tests as an alternative to quarantine.
Demand for Covid-19 tests has skyrocketed in recent days, putting another crunch on would-be travelers. Many private hospitals have put their testing services on hiatus until further notice, including Samitivej, Sukhumvit, Phyathai 1, Paolo Kaset, Praram 9, BNH, Piyavate, and MedPark.
“Who can get tested right now [when] you have announced [restrictions] this close to when people get to travel!?” wrote Bangkok-to-Trang traveler Wasu Madilokkowit on Facebook. “Hospitals in Bangkok are overwhelmed with people waiting in line for COVID tests, with a shortage of test kits.”
The restrictions come as daily Covid-19 cases have climbed into the hundreds in Bangkok, stemming from a cluster born in Thonglor pubs and VIP hostess bars.
This is a rapidly developing situation. We will update this story as new information is released. Additional reporting by Coconuts Bangkok.