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Mask up !! Update October 01.2022

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  • Mask up !! Update October 01.2022

    Mask up! Foreign visitors warned of penalties for violating disease control laws

    Foreign visitors are being told to mask up and follow Thailand’s disease control laws, or face prosecution… possibly even a 20,000 THB fine for not wearing a mask. The warning comes after reports that many foreigners travelling for business have not been wearing masks and many have gathered for parties, which a spokesperson says led to Covid-19 transmission.

    In today’s Covid task force press briefing, CCSA spokesperson Apisamai Srirangson pointed out that many visitors entering those Thailand’s “sandbox” programme to attend business meetings have not been following disease control measures set by the CCSA. Apparently, hotel staff had warned travellers about Thailand’s rules and provincial representatives reported the violations to the CCSA. Apisamai says visitors will face charges if they break disease control laws.

    “Visitors must comply, or they will be prosecuted.”
    The calls to wear masks were reiterated during the English-language CCSA briefing by deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun who said that under the Communicable Disease Act, the public must always wear masks.

    “You’re required to wear masks while in public spaces and while doing activities in groups… There is a maximum of 20,000 THB for failing to do so.”

  • #2
    CCSA clarifies fines for ignoring mask mandate

    The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration released a reminder to the public that there is still a mask mandate in place that needs to be respected. But in response to concerns over the reported 20,000 baht fine for being caught without a mask, yesterday the CCSA assured the public that such a high fine would only be for repeat offenders and the first few offences would be much less.

    This reminder comes as a result of many foreigners and tourists being seen walking around Phuket without a mask, according to a CCSA spokeswoman. She went on to emphasise that there are still strict Covid-19 regulations in place, including the mask mandate. Anybody caught violating these rules will be fined, she says, whether they are Thai or foreigners.

    The mayor of Patong shared these sentiments, saying that he was concerned about tourists not wearing masks while out in public, according to Phuket News. The director of the Department of Information reiterated what the spokeswoman and mayor said in a statement of his own.

    “Under the Disease Control Act, you are required to always wear masks while you are in public spaces or while doing activities in groups…There is a maximum THB 20,000 fine for failing to do so.”
    That being said, the CCSA released a follow-up announcement describing the process of incrementally higher fines for repeated offences, reports the Phuket News. The first time will result in a fine of no more than 1,000 THB. The second will be anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 THB And the third offence can be as much as 20,000 THB


    • #3
      Most face masks on sale in Thailand do not meet industry quality standards

      The Thailand Consumer Council says that out of 60 face masks available in the country, only a fifth have passed quality tests. According to a Bangkok Post report, the TCC has called on the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to mandate the same safety standards for disposable face masks, which is currently a voluntary requirement.

      In July, the TCC randomly chose 60 face mask brands for testing. They included 14 types of disposable masks, 27 brands of surgical masks, and 19 makes of N95 masks. All masks were tested on air permeability, pressure difference, and filter efficiency of 0.1 micron and 0.3 micron.

      According to Dr Paiboon Choungthong from the TCC, only 3 out of the 14 disposable masks achieved the required standards. The 3 brands are LOC, Medicare Plus, and Iris Ohyama. However, Paiboon says Iris Ohyama overstated its filter quality, with testing showed it was 97.47% efficient, as opposed to the claimed 99%. Out of 27 surgical mask brands tested, only 3 met the required standards. Those brands were Nam Ah, Double A Care, and TCH. Meanwhile, out of 19 brands of N95 masks, 7 passed the tests: Minicare, Snake Brand, One Care, 3M, Welcare Black Edition, Ease Mask Zero, and Pharmatex.

      According to the Bangkok Post report, the TCC says the checks will help the public to purchase higher-quality products. However, the TCC’s secretary-general, Saree Aongsomwang, has expressed concern that disposable mask makers are not obliged to meet the same Food and Drug Administration standards required of medical and N95 masks. She is calling for this to change and for the same quality standards to be applied to disposable masks.

      “The FDA and Thai Industrial Standards Institute should apply their standards to disposable face masks to ensure people’s safety.”


      • #4
        Thailand’s health ministry confirms there’s no legal requirement to wear a face mask

        Legally, we can’t force you to do it, but just do it, okay? That seems to be the message from Thailand’s Public Health Minister in relation to the wearing of face masks. According to a report from the National News Bureau of Thailand, Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed there’s no legal mandate for the wearing of face masks. However, he says people should continue to wear them to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Anutin was responding to warnings from the CCSA that those who refuse to wear a mask could be fined. He says his ministry and other related bodies have not confirmed this and the issue needs to be discussed further. While he considers face masks a valuable disease-prevention tool, Anutin says enforcement would not be necessary if everyone just wore one.

        He went on to single out foreign tourists, seemingly up there with alcohol on his list of evils, saying there is a problem with international visitors not wearing face masks when required to do so. The health minister says he plans to discuss this issue with the CCSA, adding that while the wearing of face masks may not be required in their home countries, visitors to Thailand should follow public health regulations while in the kingdom.
        Anutin hit the headlines both here and internationally in the early days of the pandemic when he berated foreigners (aka, “dirty farangs”) for not wearing face masks. His comments were seemingly fuelled by a loss of face as bemused foreigners refused the free masks he was handing out as part of a PR stunt at a Bangkok station. He then went as far as to suggest that foreigners should be kicked out of the country. His tirade went viral and many blame his comments for a disturbing wave of xenophobia that emerged shortly after.

        According to an ASEAN NOW report, when asked if Thailand would introduce stricter measures if daily case numbers reach 10,000 again, Anutin says that situation is one of a number of scenarios envisaged by the Department of Disease Control. If the number of hospitalised or severely ill patients doesn’t increase, and people continue to get vaccinated, he can’t see any stricter measures being introduced at this time. However, he is urging everyone to remain on their guard and for the country to pull together to curtail the spread of the virus.


        • #5
          Mask up! PM Prayut says Thailand’s mask mandate is still in effect

          Mask up! Although Thailand is on track to declare Covid-19 as endemic in the next few months, for the time being, the nationwide mask mandate is still in effect. In a press briefing today, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said the mask mandate is not being lifted and there has been no meeting on the subject yet.

          There have been reports on discussions by the Public Health Ministry on lifting the mask mandate, starting with public parks. A proposal from the ministry would need to be approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration before it is in effect. Prayut says Thai media had their own narrative, and officials are not lifting the mask mandate.

          As Thailand prepares to transition into an endemic stage, Prayut says relevant departments have been ordered to closely monitor the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.2, which was recently detected in Thailand. The government is also working on controlling the spread of the virus, especially as the Thai New Year, Songkran, approaches.

          Face masks are required in public places in Thailand, and those who do not wear a mask can face fines, which can go up to 20,000 THB for repeated offences.


          • #6
            Phuket drops outdoor mask mandate

            Wearing a mask in outdoor public spaces is no longer required in Phuket province, effective from yesterday, June 1. Medical or cloth face masks are still required to be worn indoors, in crowded spaces and in badly ventilated spaces. The mask mandate – indoors and outdoors – is still in effect in all other provinces in the kingdom.

            In Phuket only, people may remove their masks at the beach, public parks, sports stadiums and other public areas, but are urged to keep a social distance of 2 metres at all times.

            Last week, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health Kiattiphum Wongrajit announced the ministry would drop the mask mandate, in outdoor spaces, in certain areas of Thailand to begin with. The ministry said the mask mandate could be dropped in areas with a low number of Covid-19 cases, a high vaccination rate and “medical preparedness.”

            Currently, Phuket is the only province in which the outdoor mask mandate has been dropped.

            As for the rest of Thailand, the ministry said people should expect the outdoor mask mandate to be dropped around mid-June. However, just two days ago, a spokesperson for Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s said “the government has no plan to allow people to remove face masks because it is necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

            UPDATE June 03.2022

            Phuket governor reverses decision easing mask-wearing

            Easy come, easy go. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew today reversed yesterday’s mask-wearing easing order, insisting people must wear a mask in all public places even if they are practicing social distancing measures.

            Only yesterday the governor relaxed all measures saying healthy people could to take off their face masks while in open-air places, beaches, public parks and stadiums, as part of further easing Covid-19 restrictions.

            But late last night Narong cancelled the order allowing relaxed outdoor usage of masks at places such as beaches and parks.
            The new order states people must still wear face masks in all public areas, especially in closed areas with no airflow, and when joining activities with many people.
            There are some exceptions however, the order says people can only take off their face mask while:
            • Drinking or eating
            • Exercise in an open area with airflow away from other people
            • To verify identity at the request of a competent official.
            The order came into effect yesterday until further notice. No reason was given for the sudden reversal (The Thaiger suspects a late night phone call from the ‘boss’).


            • #7
              UPDATE JUNE 17.2022:

              The mask requirement will be cancelled from July 01.2022 Accordingly, wearing masks is up to the discretion of each individual.


              • #8
                Thailand drops outdoor face mask requirement

                On June 17.2022, Thailand’s Covid-19 taskforce announced that face masks will no longer be required in airy, outdoor spaces in Thailand. The change is expected to come into effect on July 1. The CCSA also announced some other important changes today, such as the cancellation of the Thailand Pass. Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the public should decide for themselves when wearing a face mask is appropriate…

                “Masks can be removed in some areas. I would like to emphasize this is up to the personal discretion and willingness of each individual. Masks can be removed in open air spaces and athletes can remove masks during exercise.”
                The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration – or CCSA – recommends wearing a face mask in crowded spaces and in situations when social distancing is not possible e.g. on public transport, at music venues with large audiences, crowded markets, etc. Masks are still required in public, indoor spaces, but can be removed in some instances. The CCSA said masks can be removed indoors if you are alone, eating or exercising. Masks can also be removed in well ventilated indoor spaces where social distancing is possible.

                The CCSA recommends that the high-risk “608” group should continue wearing face masks, indoors and outdoors. The “608” group includes unvaccinated people, people with underlying health conditions, elderly people and people infected with Covid-19. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked the public for their cooperation with wearing face masks and said the measure was effective in controlling the spread of the Covid-19.

                Dr Taweesilp said wearing a mask is responsible and scolded people who have a bad attitude to masks…

                “[Mask-wearing] is a concern that has gradually eased. In foreign countries, it is only infected people who wear masks. People who have a bad attitude towards mask-wearing are obnoxious bullies. It must be said that whoever wears a mask is a socially responsible person, not only people who are infected or high-risk.” “Some people want to take off their masks. Some people don’t want to. So it’s a voluntary matter.”
                Thailand’s Department of Health said they are preparing “detailed guidelines” about mask-wearing, so there’s that to look forward to.


                • #9
                  It’s official – face masks now voluntary in most places in Thailand

                  Any face mask confusion is now clarified by the publishing of the latest edict in the Royal Gazette.

                  “The wearing of a mask is a voluntary practice from now onwards so that people can now live closer to normal conditions. The Ministry of Public Health only recommends that the general public wear a mask when living with other people in a crowded place, or areas where there is a large gathering of people where they can’t maintain social distancing, or in a poorly ventilated place, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.”
                  Reading between the lines of the latest announcement on masks, you can walk around the streets and public spaces, but still need to wear one on public transport for example. Whilst the official announcement raises plenty more questions, the real-life result will be that there will be fewer people walking around the streets of Thailand with face masks.

                  Just how quickly Thais and expats reverse their 2 year and 2 month habit is yet to be seen. Many speculate that, just like in Singapore, there will still be a core of residents who will just keep wearing masks in public places for the foreseeable future. Private businesses and organisations will also be able to apply their own mask-wearing rules – shops, taxis, airlines.

                  It is also likely that all Thai government offices and schools will continue with a mask-wearing policy at this time. So we’ll need to keep a mask tucked in our pocket as we navigate our daily lives for a while yet. If an office or private company requires you to wear a face mask whilst using their service or in their space there’s nothing you can do about that other than put on a face mask or turn and walk out.

                  The announcement is effective from NOW, ready for the July 1 removal of the Thailand Pass and compulsory US$10,000 insurance for incoming travellers.


                  • #10
                    Passengers still required to wear face masks on BTS Skytrain

                    Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain operator today insisted that all passengers still have to wear a face mask on their trains and around the platform area despite an announcement on the Royal Gazette platform that face mask wearing is now voluntary in Thailand.

                    The Royal Gazette last night surprised people in Thailand with the official announcement that wearing masks is voluntary in outdoor and airy places. The platform still recommended people wear face masks in crowded areas, places with large groups of people, and venues where people are unable to practice social distancing.

                    Today, at 9.39am, BTS Skytrain operator or Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited made it clear to all passengers on the company’s Facebook page that the company requires all passengers to wear masks at all times while using the system.

                    This means that BTS Skytrain commuters still have to wear masks when entering the stations, waiting for the train on the platform, and traveling on the trains. In the comment, most of Thai netizens agreed with the company’s policy. People said, “I agree 100%.” “Please keep wearing it, don’t dare to get in if no more masks,” and “Super crowded, please wear it.”

                    SOURCE: BTS Skytrain

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                    • #11
                      CAAT insists air travellers still need to mask up on Thai Flights

                      The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand today recommended that all travelers still need to wear face masks on flights because an airplane cabin is a confined area. The Royal Gazette last week announced that face mask wearing is a voluntary practice in an outdoor and airy place, but recommended that people wear masks in crowded areas and venues where social distancing can’t be practiced, such as on the BTS Skytrain.

                      The face mask wearing news on flights was quickly shared among Thai netizens. Many thought it was fake news because of last week’s Royal Gazette announcement. But the Anti-Fake News Center Thailand confirmed the CAAT information was accurate. Wearing masks on board isn’t a rule with a penalty but the authority recommends it for health and safety reasons.

                      The CAAT also emphasised that every airline needs to carefully check the documents of travellers according to the nation’s travel restrictions.

                      The Thailand Pass and Covid-19 insurance will no longer be required for travellers who want to enter Thailand from tomorrow, July 1. 2022 But vaccinated travellers still have to provide proof of their shots to enter the kingdom, and unvaccinated people passing through airport customs have to prepare a negative result from a professional ATK test.

                      Travellers without a vaccination history and professional ATK test results can still enter the country but they will be required to get professional ATK tests on arrival.


                      • #12
                        Thai health authorities recommending the re-instatement of mask wearing

                        The highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants are currently causing problems in Thailand, just like they are in other countries – more hospitalisations but no trend of a higher number of deaths. The downward trend, since April 1, has plateaued over the past month and started creeping up again. With statistics from many countries suggesting that BA.4 and BA.5 are “highly transmissible,” Thai medical authorities are recommending the government increase the current control and prevention measures.

                        Australia is now heading for its third Omicron wave in the coming weeks, as the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants become the dominant Covid strains. Similar new waves are hitting Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, and Taiwan. BA.4 and BA.5 are more infectious than previous Covid variants and sub-variant and are showing signs of evading immunity from vaccines and previous infections.

                        It was only the last week in June that the Royal Gazette posted updated changes from the CCSA which allowed the wearing of face masks to be voluntary in open spaces. Now, according to the head of the Faculty of Medicine at the Siriraj Hospital, to further mitigate the spread of the new sub-variants, the Thai government is recommended “to reinstate Covid-19 measures, including the requirement for everywhere to wear face masks. A recommendation will be made to the CCSA at this week’s meeting.

                        “The government should reintroduce stringent control measures, including wearing masks indoors. This is urgent, and we should not wait until there are not enough hospital beds. BA.4 and BA.5 may not be as not as severe as the Delta variant but they are more infectious, and if the number of cases continues to increase, they may mutate further.”

                        People with Covid-19 are currently quarantined for a week, followed by 3 days of self-monitoring their health. However, the Public Health Ministry will suggest to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration that the quarantine period be cut to five days, instead of the current seven days. Also, people will have to keep a close eye on their health for another five days rather than three. The next CCSA meeting is scheduled for this Friday.


                        • #13
                          Thailand Mask up | Updated July 09.2022
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                          • #14
                            Are face masks still required on domestic flights in Thailand?

                            The world is moving on from the Covid-19 pandemic, but face masks are still popular in Thailand. You might see people on domestic flights in Thailand wearing masks, but are they mandatory? The Thai government made face masks “voluntary” back in June but still recommends wearing them in crowded spaces. The news was published in the Royal Gazette and said

                            “The wearing of a mask is a voluntary practice from now onwards so that people can now live closer to normal conditions. The Ministry of Public Health only recommends that the general public wear a mask when living with other people in a crowded place, in areas where there is a large gathering of people where they can’t maintain social distancing, or in a poorly ventilated place, to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.”
                            Some places, like the BTS Sky Train in Bangkok, ask passengers to wear face masks on the train, and most people comply. However, it is not a lawful requirement. If you are against wearing a face mask on the BTS, you wouldn’t get fined, imprisoned or kicked off – but you might get some disapproving looks from fellow passengers. Planes are considered the same. It is not a lawful requirement to wear face masks on domestic flights, but a few airlines still recommend them. Some airlines may push for mask-wearing more than others.
                            • Bangkok Airlines
                              “We would like to inform you that wearing face masks is not a requirement on Bangkok Airways flights. Furthermore, we do not require any Covid Test result or vaccination to be presented anymore.”
                            • Thai Smile
                              “Face masks are not a requirement, but we recommend wearing them during the flight.” A passenger flying with Thai Smile told the Press that mask-wearing was recommended but “not hyper enforced while on the plane.”
                            • AirAsia
                              On AirAsia flights, the cabin crew are likely to ask passengers, “Please wear a face mask unless you’re eating.” A passenger told the press: “Flew AirAsia for the past three weeks multiple times. I did not wear a mask and was not asked to wear a mask. They do however announce on the speaker system “Please wear a mask at all times,” but we didn’t and nothing happened.”
                            • Nok Air
                              Similarly, Nok Air flight recommends wearing face masks while flying, but it is not a requirement.
                            • Thai Lion Air
                              Again, Thai Lion Air recommends but doesn’t require, the use of face masks on domestic flights in Thailand.
                            • Thai VietJet
                              Thai VietJet recommends wearing a face mask during flights, but it is not a lawful requirement.
                            • Thai Airways
                              The nation’s flag carrier, which serves both domestic and international flights, recommends but doesn’t enforce the use of face masks. One passenger flying from the UK to Bangkok with Thai Airways told the Press…“From the moment I boarded the plane until now, I haven’t worn a mask or been asked to wear one. On the flight, it was only Thais wearing them and the odd non-Thai. Same at Suvarnabhumi Airport.”


                            • #15
                              Face masks still required on public transport, in cinemas

                              Thailand recently celebrated lifting all remaining Covid-19 restrictions and fully reopening its borders to international travellers. But, while tourists can enter without proof of vaccination or negative tests, face masks are still mandatory on public transportation throughout the country.

                              A deputy director of the Department of Health has explained that some Covid safety and prevention measures remain in place. In cinemas and on all public transportation like buses and trains, face masks are still required for all attendees or riders. People are also still strongly encouraged to practice social distancing to reduce unnecessary risk.

                              Other sanitary and safety measures will still be followed to prevent the spread of Covid infections including screening employees as well as customers, and frequent, thorough cleaning of all surfaces and contact points in businesses that are at higher risk for transmission of coronavirus.

                              Thailand has relaxed its entry restrictions as of yesterday and has downgraded the status of the pandemic. While Covid was previously considered a dangerous communicable disease in the country, it has been reduced to being labelled as a communicable disease under surveillance.

                              With this downgrade, things like proof of vaccinations and negative testing have been done away with. And while social distancing and face masks are still mandatory on public transportation, they are no longer required in schools. Students can now learn in person, without masks, and without desks spread to allow for distancing. Group activities are also no longer prohibited, so students can work together in groups of any size.