Thai int'l airport capable of quickly producing COVID-19 test results

Thailand's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Wednesday that the Ministry of Public Health's Disease Control Department (DCD) has upgraded its COVID-19 testing facility at the Suvarnabhumi international airport.

"When the facility was set up on July 1 at the airport's Point of Care RT-PCR laboratory, it took an estimated 90 minutes to determine if the arriving passenger tested positive or negative for COVID-19," said CCSA spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin.

"Now, it takes only 70 minutes for the results to come out; however with the increasing arrivals of Thai returnees and future arrivals of foreign businessmen, DCD had to upgrade the lab's COVID-19 RT-PCR test."

"Now the airport lab is capable of testing 170 arriving passengers per day," said Suthirawat Suwanawat, general manager of Suvarnabhumi airport.

However Suthirawat said the cost of the test will not be picked up by the airport or the Thai government.

The cost of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test will be paid by the inbound traveler, at 3,000 baht (96 U.S. dollars) per person, he said.

Taweesin said passengers who test negative from the airport lab will not need to go through the 14-day mandatory quarantine, but will not be allowed to take public transport or visit public places.

By July 16, 46 arrivals had been tested, including the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat who returned a positive result for COVID-19.

The Suvarnabhumi international airport has capped the number of daily arrivals, of both Thai and foreign nationals, at 600 and 200 respectively.

The CCSA on Wednesday granted four groups of foreigners into Thailand.

They include foreigners participating in trade fairs in Thailand, foreign film crew who have earlier applied for filming and will follow a specific itinerary, migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar for the food industry and for construction, and tourists seeking medical treatment.

This group of foreign visitors must stick to their itinerary and won't be allowed to enter into public venues, unless they go through a 14-day quarantine in Thailand. 

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