Bangkok Airport Transfer

Thailand attracts Chinese patients despite COVID

BANGKOK — More than 300 Chinese travelers eagerly await a visit to Thailand for the kingdom’s “medical and wellness program,” despite facing three coronavirus tests, two weeks of quarantine and 500,000 baht ($15,800) in costs just to enter the country.

A woman from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has already paid a Bangkok hospital part of the fee for in vitro fertilization, a process in which eggs are fertilized outside of the body.

“Our plan to have a baby has been put on hold due to the pandemic,” said the woman, who gave her name as Mo. “My mother-in-law urged me to go to Bangkok as soon as possible before the Thai government reverses its policy. I am not putting any bet on Thailand to fully open its tourism to foreigners any time soon.”

Thailand began loosening border restrictions this month, allowing in such medical tourists, foreign spouses of Thais and work permit holders. The Southeast Asian country hopes to boost its economy while avoiding imports of new COVID-19 cases. Leisure tourists remain barred from entering.

Around 1,200 people of 34 nationalities have applied to enter Thailand under the medical program which is expected to restart this month, with 1,500 accompanying family members.

“People like to come here to conduct plastic surgeries on the eyes and nose, for instance. And our dental treatments are relatively cheaper, too,” said Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for Thailand’s coronavirus task force.

Full Story: AsiaNikkei