Thailand's first batch of tourists from China all test negative for COVID-19

Thailand's Ministry of Sports and Tourism on Thursday reported that all of the first batch of the country's tourist arrivals since the COVID-19 outbreak have tested negative for COVID-19.

The result of the first COVID-19 tests on arrival for 39 Chinese tourists who travelled using the special tourist visa reported no positive cases, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

The minister said that another two groups from China are scheduled to arrive on Oct. 26 and Oct. 28.

Phipat said that Scandinavian travelers have applied to enter Thailand in November to escape the harsh winter back home.

As for now, Thailand will only allow tourists from coronavirus low-risk countries to enter Thailand, said Phiphat.

He said Thailand is exercising extreme caution as it does not want to experience a second wave of infections.

The minister said several countries in Europe are experiencing another surge in infections, and opening Thailand's borders to high infection rate countries will be difficult for now.

Phiphat told Xinhua however, that should the few batches of Chinese tourist arrivals test negative for COVID-19, and go through the 14-day quarantine without any glitch, he will then convince the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to relax quarantine rules, such as lowering the 14-day quarantine to just 10.

"The Tourism and Sports and Foreign ministries will allow tourists from low-risk cities with zero new cases for more than 30 days," Phiphat confirmed.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry earlier issued a report indicating a massive drop in tourism revenue.

Tourism receipts in the first nine months were 655 billion baht (20.9 billion U.S. dollars), down 70.6 percent from the same period last year, or a drop of 1.57 trillion baht (50.1 billion U.S. dollars).

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