Thailand is set to follow Malaysia’s lead by lifting the mask mandate for the outdoors in another step towards reducing Covid restrictions.
Thailand’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit, said on 24 May that the country plans to drop its mask mandate by mid-June.
Masks were introduced in both indoor and outdoor settings on 29 April 2020 in Thailand. In 2021, the government made it mandatory and imposed a hefty fine on those who violated the rule in order to prevent people from taking risks.
Thailand eases Covid restrictions by removing the mask mandate
Masks will remain in force in certain cases
Speaking at a conference in Surat Thani, Wongrajit said that the improving COVID-19 situation in Thailand led the Ministry Public Health to re-look at the mask mandate.
But masks will still remain mandatory in crowded areas and poorly ventilated places. People infected with COVID-19 and in high-risk groups will also be required to wear masks.
Referring to the Public Health Ministry’s aim to declare COVID-19 as an endemic disease on 1 July, Wongrajit said that the ministry aims to do so as planned in the coming months.
Once Thailand drops the mask requirement, it will join its South East Asian neighbours like Indonesia and Malaysia who have already removed mask mandates in outdoor settings.
Other COVID-19 steps Thailand has taken recently
Thailand has been progressively taking steps to ease COVID-19 restrictions to help its tourism industry as the situation continues to improve.
On 20 May, the country’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced changes to the Thailand Pass system. As per the latest update, Thai nationals will not be required to download the Thailand Pass when entering the country starting 1 June.
Unvaccinated travellers will no longer have to undergo quarantine, while vaccinated travellers will simply have to produce vaccination certificates.
Similarly, the CCSA announced that nightlife establishments such as bars, pubs, and nightclubs will reopen starting 1 June in ‘green’ and ‘blue’ zones across the country.
(Main and featured image: Norbert Braun/@medion4you/Unsplash)