Thailand's Ministry of Finance on Thursday (March 19) has confirmed that foreign visitors who were treated for coronavirus outbreak in the country will be able to claim back medical expenses from Thai hospitals.
The ministry's confirmation also extends to foreigners who were placed under investigation pending COVID-19 test results.
Poomisak Aranyakasemsuk, director-general of the Finance Ministry's Comptroller Department, said Thais and foreigners, including expatriates, who are covered by Thailand's welfare scheme, can claim medical expenses for the amount that exceeds the limit of the welfare scheme.
The Ministry of Public Health will work out the details of who, among non-Thais, are eligible to claim medical expenses and how much, he noted.
Long-stay guests can also help keep local businesses running during this tough time"
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the government is "seeking a reprieve" for some of the estimated 500,000 tourists who will, at no fault of their own, end up overstaying their tourist visa. He added the request for a temporary "clemency" is for humanitarian purposes.
"Long-stay guests can also help keep local businesses running during this tough time."
The minister noted that many of the stranded tourists are long-stay elderly travellers from Germany, Italy and Russia.
"They spend their winters here. They came to Thailand before the virus hit their hometowns and decided not to return home. They fear not receiving sufficient healthcare upon returning home."
To curb the spread of COVID-19, Thailand's army units have been deploy to disinfect public places in Bangkok since March 19.
As of March 20 afternoon, the country had recorded 322 infection cases, including one death.