Coronavirus (Covid-19)Phuket

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

18 Comments

  1. The fact that the world has now had to deal with this virus for nearly 18 months, means that by now, we should all have a fairly good sense of how these things work. As several people have suggested, and it’s a basic fact, there are only three ways to beat this virus (or any virus). 1) Let it rip through the population killing millions and achieve so called herd immunity. 2) Lockdown and restrict its chances of spreading within the population. 3) Vaccinate. Although Phuket is trying a bit of all three, you need to go strong and hard on the options if you want to achieve the Zero case target. Even then, going hard on lockdown just buys you time to do the vaccinations. All of the positive talking and upbeat messages are fine to raise morale, but as educated people we should all see that’s all it is and not expect anything much to change. Tangible action is required or nothing changes. I’m afraid unless Thailand ramps up option (3) of vaccination very soon, then Phuket won’t open until possibly October and the rest of the country not until 2022. I think we all feel the frustration as it’s really not that difficult. The difficult part right now is vaccine procurement, and Thailand’s inherently bureaucratic system of government is a real hinderance right now. I wish them all the very best of luck and for people out there please take care.

  2. And everyone is shocked by this ?
    So correct me if I am wrong but according to this article, if a mother / father and 1 child are together for whatever reason, then this is an illegal gathering and can be charged ?

    Way to go Thailand.

  3. “So correct me if I am wrong but according to this article, if a mother / father and 1 child are together for whatever reason, then this is an illegal gathering and can be charged ?”

    You’re wrong – only if they “aren’t from the same household”.

  4. Military governments / dictatorships are not intellectually equipped to see any country through a pandemic. We are all basically on our own to work this out and protect each other.

  5. “As several people have suggested, and it’s a basic fact, there are only three ways to beat this virus (or any virus).”

    Your opinion is not “a basic fact” – just your opinion,as flawed as usual.

    None of the countries that have so far dealt with the virus best by any quantifiable measure have used those “three ways”, although ultimately vaccination (with the right vaccine) will obviously be the only long-term solution.

  6. @Graham Walker –

    If they are from the same household as is stated in this article then it is OK.

    @Nigel

    I agree.

    The UK found out the hard way it only works if there is a mass lockdown, testing of anyone who requests one within two hours, mass testing in critical areas, and fast free mass vaccinations, plus most people here do stick to the self isolation rules, some don’t of course but the majority do.

    The UK got it wrong at the start but soon got into action and so restaurants will open inside from the 17th May and by June or July we will be able to carry on life as it was before the virus arrived with everything open and international travel permitted to safe countries.

    There is not that much testing going on in Thailand so who knows what the real figures are.

    It is a pity as I wanted to go to Phuket in July/August for quite a number of months.

  7. @simon small (Lord Haw Haw), WTF are you banging on about now. Every country who has dealt with this virus have chosen one of the three options I listed. New Zealand and Australia achieved it by locking down hard. Most European countries have locked down hard several times. Sweden initially took the view that herd immunity was best and then backtracked and went for limited lockdown. The US has done various lockdowns and implemented social distancing etc. Now the US and U.K. along with places like Chile, Malta and others are racing to implement vaccines. So I’m afraid once again you are talking out of the part of your body you normally sit on the pan with.

  8. @James R. Yes the U.K. is doing a fantastic job in its vaccination plan and something British citizens should be rightly proud of. The development of the vaccine and the “tools” to develop it were of course part of a much wider, international effort and again shows that attracting the brightest and the best, along with good scientific international relationships pays off. Equally, the actions of the U.K. government to go early with procuring the vaccines was an insightful move. The relaxing of restrictions next Monday is a big one for the U.K. as indoor mixing is where this virus is most dangerous. However, all of the data and the continued fast vaccine roll- out certainly places the U.K. in a good position. In addition I note they have already secured 60 million modified vaccines to be available in the autumn to counter current and predicted mutations. Good job by all concerned ??

  9. No surprise in the least. Personally I wouldn’t plan on making it back to Thailand until November/December at the earliest and even then I wouldn’t be buying any tickets until that opening is set in stone (refundable ones at that). Thailand might have done an outstanding job in the initial lock down phase, but the vaccination phase not so much. This is going to take some time.

  10. About 75% of people in this forum do nothing but criticise without any ideas of their own, personally I don’t see anything wrong with Phuket aiming for a July opening, a least they’re trying to do something positive, if it doesn’t happen then it was worth a try.

    James R and Nigel, if you seriously think the UK have done well during this crisis then I suggest you take into account 150,000 dead people, it’s been a catastrophic cock up of epic proportions.

  11. @Nigel – you nailed it. My little family stays Homs Since a long time like many others . Last year I was impressed and. Proud.how the virus was handled , now I am up in arms . My friends in Malaysia are all already vaccinated and have a choice . I can’t take Astra Zeneca amd. I have begged for Moderna or Pfizer jab. Not available. I am planning to return home to the USA in fall, but I can’t take a trip that long without. Being vaccinated. I pay if I. must but we should be able to get these vaccines . Restrictions are nice and the daily pep talk . Vaccines are better !!

  12. These prediction dates that are bandied about are pure supposition.
    Surely our country’s brain trust must realise that all they are doing is making utter fools of themself.Time to pull your head out of the sand (box).

  13. As for now regarding the vaccine, a lot of talking have been made but only 2% of the thais have got one shot and 0,8% two shots…So no way the country will get any tourists in 2021. I think mid or end of next year 2022. That is in one year minimum, so don’t be in a hurry to buy your plane ticket.
    As Buddha said, expectations are the root of all sadness…

  14. No one is even going to consider Phuket as a possible holiday destination this year. Their rules change every 5 minutes. I have cancelled my planned holiday to Phuket and would not waste my time looking again until well into next year.

  15. @Nigel – you talk like a very well informed person, but you totally ignore a very important point, the vaccine given in thailand right now have a very small impact on the indian and SA variants, and it don’t stop people from carrying the virus, so it don’t stop the spread, get informed before spreading dangerous strategy, in that way you are not better than the thai government for spreading uninformed ideas that will just fail

  16. @murika. Apologies if required but I don’t think I mentioned anything about a particular type of vaccine and neither did I mention anything about people not carrying and spreading the virus! That said, recent “real world” data indicates a significant reduction in the viral load vaccinated people carry. This is a critical element of how infectious vaccinated people are, assuming they do catch it, which is also significantly reduced if vaccinated. Therefore it’s a double reduction of probability. Most vaccination programmes work like this. The world will take 30 years to eradicate the virus which causes Covid-19 and actually won’t even try to do so. I don’t know about the Chinese or Russian vaccines and so you may well be right if these are being used However I made no comment about them.

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