Ambiguous Covid test ruins family vacation in Thailand

British travelers have ruined their holiday with a negative pre-flight PCR test, positive in Thailand and negative on return.

It should be noted that the vast majority of people who have traveled to Thailand recently have not had such experiences, but there remains a small percentage of people who will not return to their country of origin with glowing testimonies about Thailand.

Here is a British family’s unfortunate and strange experience, captured by The Thaiger newspaper.

This newspaper gets a few news items with similar stories every week.

See also: Warning about the dangers of traveling to Thailand

Pete’s testimonial

Airport of Thailand tourists

My name is Pete, I’m a journalist and travel writer from the UK.

I have traveled to Thailand many times since the 1980’s and I love this country and its culture.

But I just had a disturbing experience while writing a holiday article about Thailand’s reopening to tourism as part of a recent trip with my wife and son, just in time for Songkran, the Thai New Year.

Before leaving the UK we had PCR tests done at a government and NHS approved laboratory to ensure we were negative for Covid-19, although these tests are no longer required by the Thai government.

See: Traveling to Thailand in 2022, what you need to know

We were all negative.

The test results were sent to The Thaiger newspaper.

When we arrived in Bangkok for our 2 week holiday we had prepared our Thailand passport, booked our quarantine hotel (a hotel close to the airport) and had our Covid test.

My wife and I tested negative, but our son Tim tested positive.

As a result, our scheduled flight to Phuket was missed.

We weren’t able to find out as our son had no symptoms and had just tested negative literally 10 hours before we left the UK.

The doctor didn’t call us to tell us what to do that evening.

But my wife and I decided to book a room next door so Tim could start self-isolating straight away.

Firstly, we have received an email from the health authorities that our son Tim is to be hospitalized even though he has no symptoms of Covid-19.

We would have had to deposit up to 80,000 baht (2,194 euros) for this, which the hospital says it can demand from our insurance company.

I didn’t think that was useful or necessary.

We contacted the insurance company who also said they wouldn’t pay for it as hospital treatment didn’t seem necessary at the time.

Then the health department informed us that we could not stay in our current hotel, but that they had found us a “quarantine hotel”.

They said Tim should stay here for seven days and maybe longer if he continues to test positive.

The cost of this stay was 27,000 baht (740 euros) for seven days.

And for me and my wife 1,943 baht (53.29 euros) per night or 13,601 baht (373 euros).

That’s a total of 40,601 baht (1,113 euros).

But even if we do, there’s no guarantee that Tim will be allowed to leave after seven days.

Third, we were told we could fly home immediately.

But we had to make a quick decision because we couldn’t stay in our current hotel.

So we booked a direct flight from Bangkok to London.

No certificate of fitness to fly is required to enter the UK so the airline told us we didn’t need to provide one.

But for public safety reasons, Tim always wore an FFP3 mask and sat apart from other passengers.

FYI Tim, myself and my wife are all fully vaccinated and we brought our Covid-19 vaccination certificates and negative test results with us before the flight.

First we drove straight from the airport to the PCR testing lab to get Tim tested again as we couldn’t believe he tested positive.

The result came: It was negative.

I have attached the test result (confirmed by The Thaiger newspaper).

I asked the lab tech why the test was negative twice in the UK while positive in Thailand and he had no explanation.

He insisted that Tim’s two negatives were correct.

We arrived in Thailand on April 10th and stayed one night before departing.

We should have stayed in Thailand until April 24th and I should have written a wonderful story about Thailand reopening for business.

But instead, the story will be very different.

I’ve also lost a lot of money on wasted flights, non-refundable hotel reservations, parking fees, etc.

And my family couldn’t have the vacation they were hoping for.

My heart is broken.

Just thought I should share our very disappointing experience with you.

We will now spend the remainder of our two week holiday here in the UK.

But I have to admit we would have preferred to go to one of the other Southeast Asian countries open to fully vaccinated tourists than to try our luck in Thailand.

We may return in the future, but as you can imagine, this type of experience leaves a lasting impression of injustice.

Best wishes


More sensitive Covid-19 tests in Thailand?

Test Covid-19

Covid-19 tests. Photo: Mufid Majnun

Some travelers wonder if the PCR tests follow the same procedures as in their home country, as many find a positive result upon arrival in Thailand despite testing negative 48 hours before departure.

The RT-PCR test makes it possible to know whether a person is a carrier of the virus or not.

A sample is taken from the ENT sphere and sent for analysis.

To find out whether a person is a carrier of Sars-CoV-2, the biologist tries to amplify part of the virus genome.

The amplification takes place in several cycles.

The more cycles required, the less virus will be present in the analyzed sample.

If after a certain number of cycles, a threshold (Ct), no trace of the virus is found, the result is negative.

However, this Ct value is the subject of many questions and controversies.

Some consider tests with a high Ct value to be too sensitive.

They would allow the virus to be detected in very few infected and contagious people, unnecessarily inflating epidemic numbers.

Many wonder about the thresholds used in each country and suspect that France uses too high a Ct, especially compared to Germany.

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