A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine inside a mobile vaccination unit in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thailand has launched its very own “digital health pass” via the Public Health Ministry’s Mohpromt application, and all residents of the country are advised to download it. The health pass, which has already been adopted by most domestic airlines, will soon become mandatory for users of everyday venues and services.
The pass can be downloaded via the Mohpromt application. However, the app currently accepts only 13-digit Thai ID numbers, meaning expats may have difficulty registering.
Several Thais also have complained that they have been unable to get the digital health pass despite the fact that they have already got two jabs.
What is the digital health pass?
This electronic certificate registers the holders’ COVID-19 status in three parts:
Why do you need it?
The digital pass looks set to become a key document for entry to restaurants, spas, beauty salons, gyms, and even public parks in the near future.
As of September 8, Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air, Air Asia X, Thai Viet Jet, and Lion Air were accepting the digital health pass as proof that passengers are vaccinated – a requirement for domestic air travel.
Who is eligible?
To get the health pass, you will need to have had two COVID-19 jabs or been tested at an officially recognized venue.
If you have had two jabs but are still unable to register for the pass, you are advised to contact the site where you were vaccinated to ensure your status has been updated.
Is Thailand ready?
Thailand has so far administered 39.45 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. At least 12.3 million people or about a fifth of the population in Thailand have been fully inoculated.
As a result, the Public Health Ministry plans to launch “COVID-free” areas in “dark-red” provinces that are under strictest control from October 1, using the digital health pass as a key tool.
According to the plan, restaurant staff for instance will need to be fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19. They will also be expected to undergo weekly screening via ATKs (antigen test kits). Exemptions will be granted to staff who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 over the past few months.
Customers too will be expected to be fully vaccinated or have tested negative over the past seven days. Those who have recently caught and recovered from COVID-19 will be exempted.
However, the plan has been hit by opposition from the Thai Restaurants and Street Food Association. It said October 1 is too early to implement the COVID-free areas, given that not that many people have received both their jabs. The association also pointed out that only about 70 percent of staff in eateries have been inoculated.
Meanwhile, it will be awkward for staff to question customers about their vaccination status before letting them in, it added.
How it’s done overseas
Several other countries have already adopted a digital pass in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. Only those holding a pass that shows they are at low risk from COVID-19 are allowed to enter public venues. Data so far indicates that the digital passes are helping to reduce the rate of disease transmission.
In France, both French citizens and foreigners must present a “pass sanitaire” or health pass to gain access to restaurants, bars, shopping centers, hospitals, trains, planes, and other everyday services.
The mother of Spanish-Thai actress Rasri Balenciaga Chirathivat recently reported via Instagram that boutiques on the Champs-Elysee in Paris are barring entry to anyone who fails to produce a pass sanitaire. However, they have the option of paying 30 euros to get a test nearby to prove their COVID-free status, though the result is only valid for three days.
Italy has adopted a similar pass, which must be shown to gain entry to restaurants, cinemas, museums, and indoor sports venues.
By Thai PBS World’s General Desk