The shift from "Zero Corona" to "With Corona" in Thailand

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  • Covid-19

Sawatdee Krap (สวัสดีครับ)! This is Akihiko Ichikawa of Netmarks Thailand 新規タブで開く .

I am in charge of making sales activities to the Japan Originated Companies here in Thailand.

As many of you may know, the Thailand government has started exempting the quarantine period for the foreign travelers from 63 countries starting November 1st, 2021 with certain conditions such as being vaccinated. The locals here are full of anticipations and fears. While the impact may not be apparent right away, I would like to show how Bangkok is doing after the start of this quarantine exemption.

COVID-19 infections in Thailand

The first COVID-19 infection in Thailand was reported on January 13th, 2020. The first wave of the infections lasted short after 3 months with only a small number of people being infected. There were no community spread infections for 100 days afterwards & Thailand was said to be a country having a control of the corona virus.

However, the second wave of the infections started after having an outbreak at a fish market on December 17th,2020. The number of people infected were as high as 959. By February 2021, the number decreased and the various restrictions were taken away a little by little.

The long third wave then started in March 2021 after having an outbreak in the city center of Bangkok. By August, 22,782 people in the country and 4,854 people in Bangkok got infected & it almost collapsed the medical system. It then peaked out & 8,165 people in the country and 625 in Bangkok are now being infected as of November 1st, 2021. In comparison to the 1st and the 2nd waves, this 3rd wave is 43.4 and 8.5 times more respectively. While the number of the infections is starting to decrease, we are still in midst of this third wave.

The background of why the quarantine was taken off

Some of the Asian countries have recently started admitting the foreign tourists again. As 20% of Thailand GDP depends on the tourism, we are experiencing a big damage on many of the tourist related businesses.

While the Thailand government is concerned about the re-spreading of the disease, a shift to loosen the immigration restrictions was made to gain more tourist demands.

Nobody at the high-end department store (photo taken on Oct. 30th, 2021)
The closed down souvenir shops at Asiantique the Riverfront. Nobody is to be seen. (Photo taken on Feb. 13th, 2021)
Bars in the city have been closed for almost a year. (Photo taken on Oct. 30th, 2021)

Suvarnabhumi International Airport after the quarantine exemption

On November 1st, 61 flights arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport bringing in about 3,000 people. Nationwide, there were a total of 6,613 people entering the country.
I went to the airport & got the impression that the airport is lively again although the number of people around were still low. I tried to go to the arrival gate but couldn't. I learned that everyone getting of the plain is to meet a representative of the hotel they made a reservation with at the gate and leave the premise on specially arranged vehicle to find out the test result. I understand that's the way it should be.

Arrival board showing the flights coming in. (Photo taken on November 3rd, 2021)
I couldn't reach the exit gate, but you can see the people coming in the far back. (November 3rd, 2021)
People entering the country are to meet with the representative from the hotel. (November 3rd, 2021)
Parking lot 2 which was closed is now open. (November 3rd, 2021)

People in Thailand starting to go out in town

It is a fact that many people in the country are fearful and are opposed to having this quarantine period being taken away. However, the first impression I had after going out to the city was that "people in Thailand are now starting to go out". Along with the quarantine being exempt, other restrictions have also been taken away. Starting November 1st, Bangkok is being designated as one of the pilot tourist scheme (blue zone). While the places serving alcohol such as the bars and Karaoke places are still closed down, the nigh curfew and the restaurant open hour restrictions are now being lifted. It seems like we are back to the usual daily life. Taking away of the restrictions on the bar open hours and alcohol provisions after December 1st is also being considered.
Any cities and businesses depending on the tourists are still straggling, but the city such as Onnut which I live in looks like it's slowly going back to the original state.

Sukhumvit Soi 77/1 has many food stands and Thai massage shops (Onnut, November 3rd, 2021)
Alcohol is now being served. The local restaurants are back to the original bustle state. (Onnut November 3rd, 2021)
The traffic is back in Siam (November 5th, 2021)

What about the tourist places in Bangkok?

I wasn't sure how much the restriction lift affected the tourist places after just 1 week, but I still went to see how they were. I visited 3 places including Wat Phra Kaew which just re-opened on November 1st, Wat Paknam Phasicharoen which many Japanese women love to visit, and Siam Paragon which is a high-end brand department store with many brand names for the foreigners. As expected, the impression I got was this: there are almost no tourists from outside the country, but many people within Thailand are starting to come. I recognized how much those places used to be filled with the tourists from overseas. It may still take some time before these places see the effect of the quarantine exemption.

Emerald Temple (Wat Phra Kaew)

Wat Phra Kaew last year before the coronavirus crisis
(January 7th, 2020)
Almost no tourists from the overseas are to be seen
(November 6th, 2021)
Maybe, this is how it's supposed to be. (November 6th, 2021)

Wat Paknam Phasicharoen

Wat Paknam Phasicharoen:
Wow, I have this place all to myself.
(October 23rd, 2021)
Almost no one was around
an hour after opening
(October 23rd, 2021)
Few more people are seen now. Maybe,
this is how it's supposed to be.
(November 6th, 2021)

Siam Paragon

A crowd has started to be seen at Siam Paragon. (November 5th, 2021)
Only the shop assistants are to be seen at the high-end brand shops (November 5ht, 2021)
Many are going to the restaurants and food court. (November 5th, 2021)

On a last note,

How was the article?
No tourists from outside the country were around in town right after the quarantine exemption. However, many people within Bangkok started to move around & the city seems to be lively again. But I personally feel that it will still take some time before the people can start to travel freely in a true sense.
The entry to the country is pretty complex & the entry back to Japan also has many strict conditions. There is also a possibility that the infections in Thailand may increase in the near future. My personal feeling is that we still need to watch the conditions closely before deciding to enter the country.
While the quarantine exemption is a big risk, the economy cannot recover with the way it currently is. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that we must take one step at time to shift from [Zero Corona] to [With Corona] by watching the risks closely.

There will be an increase of the cloud service needs in Thailand. Netmarks Thailand has started offering AWS business. While there is a risk of shifting to the cloud, we would like to excel in being the solution provider using our experiences in shifting from [Zero Cloud] to [With Cloud].

About the information on the coronavirus:

The information mentioned above is as of mid-November of 2021. Be aware that it may differ from the current conditions.

For the latest information and travel restrictions for the Japanese, please refer to the following site.

Japan Consulate website


Netmarks Thailand Business Development Team: General Manager

Has always worked in the IT industry for 35 years. Resided in Philippines for 6 years as a part of the members to establish the overseas businesses in 1998 for ex-Netmarks (currently Uniadex, Ltd.) in Japan. Retired Uniadex, Ltd. in September 2019 & become an employee of Netmarks Thailand the following month.
(Photo / Private trip with the sales staffs (I am the 4th from the right in the back row))