Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Laos

Location:  Thailand and Laos

Event:  Border Closures and COVID-19 Screening and Quarantine Measures in Thailand

On March 20, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) announced the closure of land border entry points throughout Thailand, as well as a list of entry points that will remain open.  The following entry points on the Thailand-Laos border are still open:

  • Thai Lao Friendship Bridge 4 at Chiang Rai  – Huay Xai;
  • Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 3 at Nakhon Phanom – Thakhaek;
  • Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 2 at Moukdahan – Savannakhet;
  • Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge 1 at Nong Khai – Vientiane;
  • Nan – Huai Kon;
  • Uttaradit – Phou Dou;
  • Bueng Kan – Bolikhamxay;
  • The Hueang River Friendship Bridge in Loei Province;
  • Ubon Ratchathani – Chong Mek; and
  • Ubon Ratchathani – Pak Saeng.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok disseminated the below information today to STEP registrants:

The RTG has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available. On March 13, 2020, the RTG’s Ministry of Public Health added the United States to its list of countries with ongoing local transmission. Travelers entering the Kingdom of Thailand who have been in the United States within the prior 14 days are subject to self-monitoring and reporting requirements upon arrival.

Effective as of 12:01 am, Sunday March 22, The Thai government now also requires such travelers to have a health certificate issued within 72 hours before arrival in Thailand certifying that they are “free of coronavirus,” as well as proof of medical insurance with at least $100,000 of overseas coverage.  The health certificate must certify the traveler has displayed no evidence of acute respiratory infection in the 48 hours prior to departure from the U.S.  The self-monitoring and reporting requirements upon arrival in Thailand remain, even with the health certificate and health insurance.  All U.S. Citizens must prepare themselves to produce these two documents if they wish to be allowed to arrive in Thailand after 12:01 am, Sunday, March 22.  U.S. Embassies and Consulates will not be in a position to assist with regard to these documents.

(Information available to Embassy-Vientiane indicates that the measures described above will apply to U.S. Citizens in Laos, even if they have not been in the United States in the past 14 days.)

All travelers arriving in Thailand will also be required to download the AOT Airports Application.  Once the app is downloaded, travelers must fill in the required information in the COVID-19 Inbound Passenger Control Section and present this to immigration officials at all international airports. The language of the RTG Ministry of Health requirements is available on its website.  Visit theMinistry of Public Health website for additional information on these new measures.

Many travelers worldwide have reported unexpected flight cancellations and limited flight availability.  If your travel has been disrupted, please contact your airline.  Please check with your airline or tour operator regarding any additional requirements to board, as individual companies may have their own requirements.

The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel.  U.S. citizens normally resident in the U.S. but currently outside the U.S,, i.e. tourists and other short-term travelers, should return while there are still transportation options available.  U.S. citizens normally resident overseas should avoid international travel.  The Travel Advisory does not constitute a “recall” of all U.S. citizens to the United States.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of US personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

Actions to Take: