Thailand’s main airport offers rapid coronavirus test for international arrivals

A security person patrols at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Friday, July 3, 2020. As the country starts to ease its travel restrictions allowing foreign visitors in on a controlled basis, a laboratory at the airport will have the results of COVID-19 virus testing ready within 90 minutes for arriving travelers. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2020

Thailand’s main airport offers rapid coronavirus test for international arrivals

  • The government is considering a plan to open more international travel with a “travel bubble” arrangement with some countries in September

SAMUT PRAKAN, Thailand: Thailand’s main international airport unveiled rapid coronavirus tests on Friday for some overseas arrivals after a three-month ban on foreign visitors was partially lifted this month.
All foreigners, except those with work permits, have been barred since March, but after more than five weeks with no recorded community transmission of the virus, Thailand is allowing in some groups of foreigners.
Business travelers, diplomats and government guests staying for less than 14 days are considered “fast track travelers” who will be swab tested for the disease at Suvarnabhumi airport to make ensure they are infection-free before entry.
“The test itself takes around one hour and a half,” said Suwich Thammapalo, an official of Thailand’s disease control department, adding that its use could be expanded in future for other arrivals and tourists.
The airport test, costing 3,000 baht ($96) each, is one requirement for fast-track entry without spending 14 days in quarantine, and is required of other foreigners recently allowed in, ranging from those with resident status or family in the country, as well as international students.
About 1,700 foreigners have applied to visit Thailand for medical treatment such as cosmetic surgery or fertility treatment after a ban on medical tourism was lifted this month, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the task force on the disease.
The government is considering a plan to open more international travel with a “travel bubble” arrangement with some countries in September, he added.
As the pandemic hits travel, Thailand is expected to draw at most 8 million foreign tourists this year, down 80 percent from a year earlier, the Tourism Council of Thailand estimates, although the sector is expected to recover in 2021.
Last year, spending by a record 39.8 million foreign tourists accounted for about 11 percent of GDP. ($1=31.1200 baht)


Russia says India to produce 100 million doses of Sputnik vaccine

Updated 27 November 2020

Russia says India to produce 100 million doses of Sputnik vaccine

  • Hetero, one of India’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies, have agreed to produce in India over 100 million doses per year

MOSCOW: The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), one of the developers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, announced Friday that India-based drugmaker Hetero will produce over 100 million doses of the jab.
“Hetero, one of India’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies, have agreed to produce in India over 100 million doses per year of the world’s first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection — Sputnik V,” the RDIF said in a statement, adding that production was expected to start in early 2021.