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Thailand Arrival | ATK Tests from July 01.2022

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  • Thailand Arrival | ATK Tests from July 01.2022

    Pre-Departure Covid-19 Tests, Antigen Tests and PCR Tests

    In anticipation of more international arrivals in the coming months, the Thai government is reviewing current entry requirements. According to a Bangkok Post report, officials may replace the PCR test with antigen test kits and rules could be relaxed for people unfortunate enough to have sat near an infected passenger during their flight. Any amendment of the current rules would need approval from the national communicable disease control committee and the CCSA. The PM will chair a CCSA meeting later today.

    Yuthasak Supasorn from the Tourism Authority of Thailand says the time it takes to get results from PCR testing could see the method replaced with ATKs in order to better manage the flow of arrivals during the coming months. He adds that the CCSA will also review the rule that currently requires travellers who sat 2 rows behind or in front of an infected passenger to be moved to quarantine facilities. According to the Bangkok Post report, officials are considering a change that would mean only people who sat next to an infected passenger would be quarantined, meaning a maximum of 2 people for each patient.

    Other proposed changes include ditching mandatory hospitalisation for infected arrivals who are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms. Instead, they would be given a choice of alternative quarantine or a “hospitel”, with the period of stay reduced from 14 days to 10. As of November 9, just 28 of the 28,021 travellers who entered the country following the November 1 re-opening have tested positive for Covid-19.

    Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association says that if the number of foreign arrivals continues to rise, problems such as congestion at the airport and insufficient airport transfer vehicles could arise. Currently, only transportation services with the SHA Plus accreditation can transfer arriving passengers to their accommodation.

    She adds that while SHA Plus hotels in Bangkok are benefiting from the mandatory 1-night stay to await Covid test results, hotels in Pattaya and Hua Hin continue to struggle, with fewer guests than expected. Ditching the PCR test in favour of antigen testing would mean tourists would be free to immediately travel to the destination of their choice. The current rules require them to stay at a hotel that is within a 2-hour drive of their arrival airport until they receive a negative result from their PCR test.

    Update: November 12..2021

    After talk of whether to replace the mandatory RT-PCR Covid-19 test for international arrivals with the rapid antigen test kit method, the CCSA decided to continue to use RT-PCR tests to screen travellers upon arrival in Thailand. The antigen test kits, or ATKs, will be used for travellers on days 6 and 7, or if they develop coronavirus symptoms, according to deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nopakun Natapanu, who gives the CCSA press briefing in English. He added that the current testing requirements will remain “until further studies are completed.”

    Those arriving to Thailand under the quarantine exemption scheme must wait in temporary isolation in their hotel room until their results for their RT-PCR test come back. Using the ATK method would potentially allow those travellers to be free to immediately travel Thailand upon arrival.

  • #2
    Easier entry for foreign tourists: CCSA approves ATK for on-arrival screening

    Update: November 30.2021
    • According to Prime Minister Prayut, all foreigners are required to take a PCR Test upon arrival in Thailand. The PM reversed the CCSA decision on November 30.2021
    Please disregard the following information

    Entering Thailand will get a little easier, and a bit cheaper. The CCSA approved the use of rapid antigen tests to screen international arrivals for Covid-19 starting December 16. The ATK method will replacing the RT-PCR test, meaning travellers won’t need to wait long before they are allowed to travel throughout Thailand. The measure will apply to travellers entering under the quarantine exemption scheme and “sandbox” scheme.

    While the RT-PCR test is said to be more accurate, the results come back much slower and travellers entering the country have been required to book a night at an approved hotel while they wait for results to come back. Travellers can wait between 6 hours to a day. Results from the antigen test can come back in 15 minutes.

    Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nopakun Natapanu, who gives the CCSA briefing in English, said travellers will need to take the antigen test at a hotel and will need to book approved transportation from the airport.

    “You will not need to book the actual hotel room, because of course the ATK test gives out a faster result.”
    The CCSA also approved to shorten the stay under the “sandbox” scheme to five days. Under the scheme, vaccinated travellers are allowed to roam freely in an approved district for province instead of undergoing quarantine at a hotel. Officials also agreed to add Kanchanaburi, Nonthaburi, and Pathum Thani to the list of “blue” zones, which are approved to reopen under the “Sandbox” scheme.

    Thai officials mull over testing methods for arrivals following Omicron emergence

    With the emergence of the Omicron variant, just as Thailand was easing travel regulations, the Thai government is mulling over whether to reverse its plan to replace RT-PCR tests with the less accurate, but faster and cheaper antigen tests, or ATK, for arrivals from overseas.

    The CCSA held an emergency meeting over the weekend in response to the news of the mutated Covid-19 strain and decided to bar entry to those travelling from 8 countries in Africa. Those travelling from other countries in Africa will need to undergo a 14 day quarantine at a certified hotel or facility.

    The Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha now says the government is looking into whether to suspend its decision to use rapid antigen tests to screen travellers arriving in Thailand. In its general meeting on Friday chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, the CCSA decided to ease restrictions and, starting December 16, travellers from 63 approved countries would take an antigen test, rather than a PCR test.

    Results from the PCR test come back much slower, and travellers have been required to book a night at an approved hotel while they wait for their results. Using the antigen test would allow visitors to travel throughout Thailand just minutes after their results come back.

    With the PCR test more accurate than the antigen test, the deputy minister says it would be more effective at preventing the Omicron from spreading in the country. The CCSA spokesperson, Apisamai Srirangson, also said that the new regulations might be revised due to the global Covid-19 situation.


    • #3
      PCR Tests | Requirement for Foreign Arrivals

      Thailand will continue using the RT-PCR method to screen arrivals for Covid-19 as a preventative measure to keep the Omicron variant from reaching Thai soil. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced today that the Cabinet decided to reverse the CCSA’s decision to change the testing method to the faster, yet less reliable ATK method. The Thai government says the order on PCR tests for arrivals will soon be published in the Royal Gazette.

      On Friday, the CCSA had decided to change the testing method for vaccinated travellers from 63 approved countries entering under the Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme. The change was set to start on December 16. The rapid test was intended to make the entry process more convenient.

      But with news over the weekend of the emergence of the Omicron variant, which has several mutations and is designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation, Thai officials held an emergency meeting to discuss preventive measures.

      The Thai government has also suspended the issuance of the Thailand Pass QR code to those from eight African countries considered to be at high risk of the Omicron variant. Those entering Thailand from other countries in Africa will be required to undergo a 14 day quarantine at a certified hotel or facility and take three PCR tests before they are released.


      • #4
        More venues in Thailand require proof of vaccination, or ATK test, at the door

        Thailand’s future looks… vaccinated. More and more venues and events are embracing the government’s “Covid Free Setting” guidelines which call for not only staff, but customers to be fully vaccinated, or test negative for the virus, to be considered a “Covid free” area.

        Bangkok’s Khao San Road was blocked off the other weekend with bouncers checking documents and digital vaccination records while health staff wearing personal protective gear were onsite sticking swabs up unvaccinated partygoers’ noses for a rapid Covid test. (We haven’t heard what happens if someone tests positive, but an ambulance was parked at the entrance.)

        Other venues, even some gyms and fitness studios in Bangkok, have started requiring proof of vaccination or an ATK at the door. Even shoppers entering CentralWorld’sGroove zone, a section of the major shopping centre in Bangkok’s Pathum Wan district with various eateries, are required to take a rapid antigen test to enter the area.

        Several large festivals and events are also operating under the “Covid Free Setting” guidelines, like last weekend’s firework festival in Pattaya. According to the Pattaya News, the city mayor said those entering the concert area of the festival needed to show proof that they are fully vaccinated, or had recently tested negative for Covid-19. Vendors at the festival also needed to be vaccinated.

        Other upcoming events also require proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid-19 test result, including River Kwai Bridge Week in Kanchanaburi from December 17 to 26 as well as January’s stand up show by Monty Python’s John Cleese.

        To fly domestically, airlines are asking for vaccination certificates, but in some cases, will accept a PCR test taken within 72 hours before departures. Some interprovincial bus operators have also been asking for vaccination records.

        When it comes to employees, many businesses, condominiums, gyms, and restaurants in Bangkok now have posters saying that 100% of the staff are vaccinated and undergo regular ATK testing. On the ride-sharing app Grab, passengers in Bangkok can request a vaccinated driver through the service JustGrab (Vaccinated.) Some cleaning services in Bangkok allow clients to request a housekeeper who is vaccinated.


        • #5
          TAC explains what happens if a tourist or child gets Covid-19

          One question that has frequently come up, and scared people from coming to Thailand in the age of Covid-19, is that of what happens if you test positive for the virus when you land in the country. An official with the Phuket Tourist Assistance Centre recently laid out the procedure for a tourist – or a child – who test positive for Covid-19.

          While Thailand has bombarded potential tourists with announcement after announcement of sandbox schemes, and later the Test & Go programme as well as quarantine option, details on the actual process of what happens did you arrive in Thailand and test positive for Covid-19 have been rarely addressed and often the subject of wild speculation.

          Even official websites like the Entry Thailand tourism portal launched this week by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports don’t address the subject. The entry process barring any problems like a positive Covid-19 test are explained ad nauseam but it seems no one wants to talk about the reality of catching Covid-19 in Thailand.

          So what should you expect? The Phuket TAC explain that tourists arriving in Phuket International Airport will have a Covid-19 swab test and then travel to an SHA+ hotel while they await the results. The tests generally take around 7 to 8 hours to be completed. If the results come back negative, travellers from one of 63 approved countries are free to go on their way in the Test & Go scheme, While others tour vaccinated but not from an approved country can do a soft quarantine for 7 days.

          But should you test positive for Covid-19, your condition will be analysed and action will be taken based on the severity. Those who experience intense symptoms from their infection will be immediately taken to the hospital that is contracted to provide medical support to whatever SHA+ hotel the traveller is booked in. Any traveller who wants to know in advance what hotel that would be can inquire with the hotel that they have a booking with.

          If the symptoms are milder or the traveller is asymptomatic, they may still be asked to stay in the hospital or might be allowed to remain in self-isolation in the SHA+ hotel they had booked. There may also be the option of moving to an Alternative Quarantine venue during their infection. Refunds for unused stays though still are at the discretion of each hotel.

          Many worry about travelling with a child and what will happen if the parent or child is infected with Covid-19. The TAC assured that any child too young to care for themselves would be allowed to have their parent stay with them. Parents of an older child that can be left unattended part-time would be asked to stay separately from their child to avoid the risk of infection.

          One situation that does not have a clear plan ready is if a single parent travelling with their child should become infected with Covid-19. The TAC said that local health officials would evaluate that situation should it arise and make a determination on a case by case basis. They did warn though that if the parent and child stay together, the child could become infected and parents would be responsible for the cost of treatment for the child.


          • #6
            What to do if you test positive for Covid-19 in Thailand

            Taking at-home Covid-19 tests on a regular basis as become the “norm” this week after many people travelled and met with friends and family during the New Year holiday. Officials are anticipating an uptick in Covid-19 cases, and some areas, like Bangkok and Phuket, have even prepared facilities to house patients. Here’s what to do if you test positive for Covid-19 in Thailand…

            Confirm the result with an RT-PCR test
            Those who test positive for Covid-19 in a rapid antigen test, or ATK, must follow up with a RT-PCR test to confirm the infection. The Thai government only recognises positive RT-PCR tests as confirmed Covid-19 infections.

            Contact Thai health officials
            Under Thailand’s emergency orders, those who test positive for Covid-19 are required to contact the public health officials. Those who do not report positive results can face a fine of up to 20,000 baht.
            • Contact National Health Security Office at 1330 by phone or their Line official account.
            • Patients under the Social Security System contact a hotline 1506, press 6.
            • For urgent or severe cases, contact the hotline 1668 or Line @1668.reg to reserve a hospital bed.
            Enquire about home isolation
            Those infected with Covid-19 who refuse to quarantine or get treatment can face a penalty of up to 2 years in jail and an up to 40,000 baht fine. Patients with severe symptoms will be sent to a hospital while others can be sent to a field hospital or community isolation centre where the stay and expenses for basic treatment is covered by the government.

            But for expats and travellers, the thought of being sent off to a field hospital or isolation centre in a foreign country can be daunting, but those who are asymptomatic, or who have mild symptoms, can be approved for home isolation.

            To qualify for home isolation, patient must be younger than 65 years old with no health conditions that put them at risk of a severe infection. They must also be asymptomatic, or only have mild symptoms, and have living space where they can isolate from others. Those travelling in Thailand may be subject to quarantine at an approved hotel at their expense.
            For enquiries on home isolation, call the Department of Disease Control hotline at 1422.


            • #7
              Thailand to scrap pre-departure Covid-19 tests in April

              The CCSA has announced that starting April 1, travellers arriving in Thailand from abroad won’t have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests (before they travel to Thailand). The scrap of pre-departure tests will also apply to Hat Yai airport, in addition to the current Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai and U-tapao airports. A CCSA spokesman said the CCSA hopes to expand it to all airports, depending on their readiness.

              Visitors must still take RT-PCR tests once they arrive in Thailand. Under the Test & Go and Sandbox schemes, visitors must also still take antigen self-tests (ATK) five days after arriving, monitored at their hotels. International arrivals must also still have Covid-19 insurance coverage of at least US$20,000. There was a proposal during the week to reduce that to US$10,000, but it didn’t happen. The spokesman said the required amount of insurance will likely be reduced later, though.

              Starting April 1.2022, visitors will be able to arrive by land through Satun province in the South, and by sea through Surat Thani ports. Sea travellers are already currently allowed to arrive through Phuket and Chon Buri. Phuket’s first sea tourists, a group of four Indonesians, arrived on a yacht last week. Sea tourists under Test & Go take an RC-PCR test for Covid-19, and isolate on the ship until they get their results.

              The CCSA spokesman said the lifting of pre-departure tests applies to all visitors, whether arriving by Test & Go, Sandbox or quarantine channels.


              • #8
                No pre-departure PCR test for travellers entering Thailand starting April 01.2022

                Starting tomorrow, travellers entering Thailand will no longer need to take a PCR Covid-19 test before their flight, but visitors will still need to take a PCR test once they land. All travellers – vaccinated and unvaccinated – no longer need to take the pre-departure test, but requirements after entry vary depending on the scheme.

                To make travel a bit more convenient and entice more people to visit Thailand, the government’s Covid task force decided to scrap the requirement for a pre-departure test taken within 72 hours before take-off. The revised entry requirements were published in the Royal Gazette yesterday, making the new rules official.

                For those who are fully vaccinated and entering under the Test & Go scheme, a hotel must be booked for their first night in Thailand while they wait for the test results to come back, which can take up to a day. On the fifth day of their stay, travellers will need to take a self-administered rapid antigen test and report the results.

                Unvaccinated travellers, or those who do not meet Thailand’s vaccine requirements, must isolate at an approved hotel or resort for five days under the Alternative Quarantine scheme and undergo Covid-19 testing before they are released.

                Before flying to Thailand, travellers must apply for a Thailand Pass QR code through the official website run by the Department of Consular Affairs.

                The Thai government is gradually easing entry requirements as the country prepares to transition from a pandemic to an endemic in the next several months. Thailand plans to declare Covid-19 an endemic by July 1.2022 but the date could change if there is a spike in the infection rate following the Thai New Year, Songkran, on April 13.2022

                To prepare for an endemic stage, the Thai government has laid out a plan to focus on reducing infection rates and coronavirus-related deaths by swift and accessible medical treatment, as well as by accelerating the rollout of booster dose vaccines, particularly to the elderly.
                Covid-19 vaccines approved for Test & Go, Sandbox entry
                Covid-19 vaccine Doses needed Interval between doses
                Sinovac 2 doses At least 2 weeks
                AstraZeneca 2 doses At least 4 weeks
                Pfizer-BioTech 2 doses At least 3 weeks
                Johnson & Johnson 1 dose
                Moderna 2 doses At least 4 weeks
                Sinopharm 2 doses At least 3 weeks
                Sputnik V 2 doses At least 3 weeks
                Covaxin 2 doses At least 4 weeks
                Novavax 2 doses At least 3 weeks
                Medigen 2 doses At least 4 weeks
                **Sandbox programme only**
                Sputnik Light 1 dose


                • #9
                  Covid test confusion ruins UK family holiday to Thailand

                  An email with another sad outcome from possible risks, albeit small, that individuals and families face returning to Thailand at this time. We received at least a few of these sad stories every week. Names of individuals and locations been changed or withheld on the request of the author.
                  My name is Pete Passport. I am a journalist and travel writer from the UK.

                  I have travelled to Thailand many times since the 1980s, and love the country and the culture.

                  But I have just had a disturbing experience in my latest visit with my wife and son, as part of a trip to write a holiday feature about how Thailand is re-opening to tourism in time for Songkran. Before we set off from the UK, we had PCR tests done at a government-registered and NHS-accredited lab to make sure that we were covid negative, even though these are no longer required by the Thai Government. We were all negative. The result of my son Tim is enclosed.

                  When we arrived in Bangkok for our two week holiday, we had our Thailand Pass ready, our quarantine hotel booked (a hotel close to the arrival airport), and we had our covid test. My wife and I had a negative result, but our son Tim tested positive. It meant our planned flight to Phuket was missed.

                  We could not understand it because our son had no symptoms and had just had a negative test literally 10 hours before we left the UK. The doctor did not phone us to tell us what to do that night. But my wife and I decided to book a room next door so Tim could start isolation immediately.

                  Firstly: We received an email from the health authorities wanting our son Tim to go to hospital – despite him not having any covid symptoms. This would have required us to deposit up to 80,000 Thai Baht which the hospital said we would be able to reclaim from our insurance company. I did not think this was reasonable or necessary. We contacted the insurance company also said they would not pay for that because hospital treatment did not seem necessary at the moment.

                  Secondly: Then the health authorities said that we could not stay at our present hotel, but they had found us a “Quarantine Hotel”. They said that Tim would need to stay here for seven days, and maybe more if he continued to test positive. The cost of this was THB 27,000 for seven days. And for me and my wife THB 1943 per night (THB 13,601). That is THB 40,601. But even if we did this, there is no guarantee that Tim would be allowed to leave after seven days.

                  Thirdly: We were told that we could fly home immediately. But we had to make a quick decision because we could not stay in our present hotel. So, we booked a direct flight from Bangkok to London. There are no requirements to have a Fit-to-Fly certificate to enter the UK so the airline said we did not need to produce one. But for public safety, Tim wore an FFP3 mask all the time (see the photographs), and he sat away from other passengers.

                  Just so you are aware, Tim, myself and my wife are all fully vaccinated, and we brought our covid vaccination certificates and our pre-flight negative covid test results with us. When we arrived back in the UK, we went straight from the airport to the PCR testing lab to get Tim covid tested again because we could not believe he had tested positive. The result came back that he was negative. I have enclosed the test result.

                  I asked the lab technician why he would test negative in the UK twice, and yet he tested positive in Thailand, and he had no explanation. He insisted that both Tim’s negative results were accurate. We arrived in Thailand on April 10 and stayed one night before leaving. We should have been staying in Thailand until April 24, and I should have been writing a wonderful story about how Thailand is open for business again. But instead, the story will be a very different one.

                  I have also lost a lot of money from wasted flights, hotel bookings which cant be refunded, car parking fees, etc. And my family did not get to have the holiday they had hoped for. I feel heartbroken. I just thought that I should share with you our very disappointing experience. We will now spend the remainder of our two weeks holiday back here in the UK.

                  But I must admit that we wished we had chosen instead to go to one of the other southeast Asian countries which are open to fully vaccinated tourists instead of taking a chance on Thailand. Maybe in the future we will venture back, but as you can imagine, this sort of experience does leave a lasting impression of injustice.

                  Best wishes
                  Pete Passport


                  • #10
                    No PCR Tests | SHA Hotel Accommodation from May 01.2022

                    Thailand drops PCR test on arrival, no SHA hotel, ATK test ‘optional’

                    Thailand’s CCSA has just announced major changes to the county’s Test & Go program, part of the broader Thailand Pass. International travellers will no longer need to take a PCR test on arrival. The requirement to book an SHA+ hotel as part of the Test & Go entry scheme is also abolished under today’s CCSA decision.

                    The removal of the PCR test for vaccinated travellers is the big headline for today’s changes whilst the CCSA will still recommend an ATK test on the fifth day and expect travellers to monitor their health whilst in Thailand. Insurance coverage requirements will also be dropped from US$20,000 dollar to US$10,000.

                    Unvaccinated travellers will still need to make and pre-pay a hotel booking and do a PCR test on Day 5. It was not specified if they are required to stay in the hotel as quarantine during the 5 days (will confirm when we get the information).

                    The bad news is that the Thailand Pass remains as a registration for anybody wanting to enter Thailand, Thais and foreigners. Documentation, including vaccination certificates and proof go insurance will still need to be uploaded and approved before your arrival in Thailand.

                    The CCSA also discussed the re-opening of all land border checkpoints, and has reviewed the colour-coding of provinces based on their infection rates.

                    In other good news it was confirmed that restaurants, even the ones operating as ‘pseudo bars’, and SHA+ registered, will be able to remain open until midnight. But this ‘official’ requirement has been broadly flouted in recent months as nightlife owners have pushed to return to ‘normal’ operating hours.

                    All this is expected to be enacted from May 1, next week. But a confirmed date has not been announced at this time. All the changes will need to be signed off and published in the Royal Gazette, expected to happen early next week.


                    • #11
                      BREAKING NEWS June 17.2022

                      ATK TESTS

                      From July 01.2022 travellers will be required to show proof of vaccination history to enter Thailand. Unvaccinated travellers must provide a negative “Professional” ATK test result. If travellers do not have either proof of vaccination history or a negative ATK test result, they can still gain entry into Thailand but might subject to an on-arrival ATK test. The CCSA said there will be randomised document checking at the airport, and anyone who does not have the aforementioned documents will be subject to a professional ATK test.


                      • #12
                        UPDATE: Thailand’s Entry Requirements August 2022

                        If you’re planning to stay in the kingdom for less than 30 days, and you hold a passport from the selected 64 countries, you don’t need a visa to enter Thailand.

                        Tourists are no longer required to apply for Thailand Pass or buy health insurance prior to entering the kingdom. Health insurance which covers Covid-19 expenses is not required, but is still recommended. Health insurance is cheap and could save you a lot of money if you test positive for Covid-19 and require hospital treatment during your stay in Thailand. There are several insurance plans to choose from. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are welcome to enter Thailand, but they have different entry requirements.

                        Fully vaccinated travellers are required to provide…
                        • A valid passport
                        • A Certificate of Covid-19 Vaccination
                          • Anyone over 18 years old must be fully vaccinated with at least two doses of an approved vaccine no less than 14 days before date of travel.
                          • Travellers between 5 and 17 years old or must have at least one dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before date of travel. Those travelling with parents are exempt from this requirement.
                        Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated tourists are required to provide…
                        • A valid passport
                        • A negative Covid-19 RT-PCR or Pro-ATK test result taken within 72 hours prior to travelling.*
                        *Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said that unvaccinated travellers who arrive at the border without a negative test result may still gain entry if they take a negative ATK test on arrival at their own expense. However, most airlines require unvaccinated tourists to show proof of a negative test result at check-in, so you still need to get one.

                        Covid-19 Restrictions in Thailand

                        Face masks are now voluntary in Thailand – there is no mandate in place to say wearing face masks in any instance is a lawful requirement. However, the CCSA recommends wearing masks in indoor spaces, crowded spaces and badly-ventilated spaces. Masks are still required on public transport. Masks are not required outdoors but the CCSA recommends wearing masks in outdoor spaces which are crowded or badly-ventilated, e.g. a busy market. Most Thai people are still wearing masks indoors and many are still wearing masks outdoors.

                        Entertainment venues in Thailand are permitted to open until 2am in most areas and 1am in some areas.

                        Thailand recently extended the country’s Emergency Decree for the 19th time. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand is still in a “state of emergency” until at least until September 30 2022, according to the CCSA. Under the decree, public gatherings are banned.