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Coronavirus Phuket

Rush for fit-to-travel documents for people leaving Phuket

Jack Burton

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Rush for fit-to-travel documents for people leaving Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sawadee Siam News

Authorities announced yesterday that those who want to leave Phuket by road must register online no later than Friday, May 8, to obtain fit-to-travel certificates. While the southern province of Phuket remains closed to entry, authorities have begun allowing people to leave. Tens of thousands, both tourists and Thais from other provinces, have been trapped on the island since it was officially closed in March. Many recently unemployed tourism and hospitality workers have been without income or even secure accommodation since then.

The announcement came after pandemonium on Friday when hundreds of vehicles attempting to leave the province led to traffic jams that stretched for kilometres. That afternoon, authorities once again closed the Tha Chatchai checkpoint and announced that no more would be allowed to leave until today.

When outbound road travel does finally resume, every driver and passenger will have to show a fit-to-travel certificate at the checkpoint, where the island links with Phang Nga province and the Thai mainland.

Outgoing governor Phakaphong Tavipatana said authorities were trying to help the thousands left stranded when the province closed its borders a month ago, banning both entry and exit, to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Phakaphong sought the advice of the Interior Ministry in Bangkok on how to handle the exodus. Officials said Phuket authorities must provide a list of returnees and their destination provinces. Each destination province must also issue a document to guarantee that those on the list have been screened by disease control officials or have been in self-quarantine in Phuket for 14 days before their travel.

Rush for fit-to-travel documents for people leaving Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

Authorities have now opened online registration for health certification via www.phuket.go.th/FIT-to-Travel for those wanting to leave the province, said Mr Phakaphong.

Applicants will be required to enter their 13-digit national ID or passport number and personal information, their destination and vehicle details. If approved, they will receive fit-to-travel certificates. They will have to show this certificate to officers at Tha Chatchai when they leave the island.

Registration can also be made and certificates received at the Muang, Kathu and Thalang district offices, and the tambon Sri Soonthon and Wichit municipal offices.

Phuket’s chief of police says around 40,000 people have registered so far to leave the island.

The deadline has predictably caused a rush for the certificates, and as crowds gathered at Tha Chatchai yesterday, about 100 police including anti-riot officers were deployed to keep order.

The chief sought the public’s cooperation, stressing that everyone must register online and print out forms to be signed by representatives of the governor and public health chief. Once they present approved forms at Tha Chatchai, they’ll receive a queue number for onward travel.

Authorities’ original plan was to allow a maximum of 5,000 people to leave the island each day.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus News & Updates

New scheduled departure times for people leaving Phuket

Anukul

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New scheduled departure times for people leaving Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook@newshawkphuket

While Phuket officials have allowed tens of thousands of people to leave the island to head back to their home provinces, the Phuket provincial government only allowed Phuket residents to leave the island in their own vehicles on April 30 and May 1, being the ‘first round’ and ‘second round’ of the mass exodus.

But on the first day there was traffic jams for kilometres and general chaos around the Tha Chatchai Checkpoint, along with not-very-happy people. Only a few of the total people queueing up managed to leave the island on that first day. Since then the Phuket provincial government has set new guidelines for people who want to leave the island.

The new strategy is a time based queue registration system. Those who wish to leave Phuket must first sign up via a website booking and select a scheduled time. Tha Chatchai Checkpoint, will be open for 700 people to exit every hour starting from 5 am – 8 pm, allowing a total of 10,500 people per day.

New scheduled departure times for people leaving Phuket | News by The Thaiger

The passengers must also pass the fit-to-travel requirements at the checkpoint. This is done by providing a certificate from the ‘provincial administration for Covid-19’ which states that travellers are Covid-19 free. Inquires can be made in advance at the Phuket Provincial Police (building 191) or through their Facebook page at ‘191phuket’.

Buses and vans will also be available for people who have booked in advanced. People must reserve a specific time.

“If you do not arrive within the requested period, you must go back to register again.”

SOURCE: Phuket Police

New scheduled departure times for people leaving Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus Thailand

Phuket reports no new Covid-19 cases for fourth day, one new death

Jack Burton

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Phuket reports no new Covid-19 cases for fourth day, one new death | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Big Buddha Phuket - opodo

The southern island province of Phuket reported no new Covid-19 cases today, a fourth consecutive day, though there was one additional death.

The man was a 63 year old hotelier from Khao Lak in neighbouring Phang Nga province on the mainland, who visited Phuket before falling ill. He travelled to Phuket between March 19-21 and first began exhibiting symptoms on March 24.

He suffered from from cystic fibrosis, a disease which affects the lungs and digestive system. He returned to Phuket for the critical treatment offered by the island’s hospitals, but succumbed to the illness yesterday.

As of today, Phuket has discharged 180 patients and retains 36 patients in hospital, with 57 still awaiting test results, whereas more than 5,000 considered “at high risk” have tested negative and been sent home. Yesterday’s death takes the island’s total to 3.

The recent downturn in numbers is especially encouraging as Phuket province has long had the highest rate of infection per capita in the kingdom, and the second-highest actual numbers of infections, after Bangkok.

SOURCE: Phuket People’s Voice

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Coronavirus Phuket

People returning from Phuket to Krabi greeted with 14 day quarantine

The Thaiger

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People returning from Phuket to Krabi greeted with 14 day quarantine | The Thaiger

Some Krabi residents, joining the exodus from Phuket after the Phuket opened its only land border at Sarasin Bridge last week, were greeted with a mandatory swab-test yesterday. 76 Krabi residents returned from Phuket yesterday,

Krabi’s governor, Kitibadee Prawit, joined public health officials and Krabi Hospital’s director in overseeing collection of swab samples from a group of 76 returnees on Tuesday. 39 had returned from areas in Phuket deemed “at high risk” for Covid-19 transmission – Cherngtalay, Patong, Kathu, and Koh Kaew.

Returnees from those high-risk areas were sent for a state-enforced 14 days holiday, aka. quarantine, at hotels provided in Krabi. The remainder were allowed to quarantine at their homes under the supervision of public health officials.

On Sunday the deputy governor of Krabi province, Somkuan Khan-ngern, claimed that the Phuket departees “had spread coronavirus to his province”.

Later he retracted the comment and apologised to the media saying that his comments were “a thoughtless accusation, made during an inspection of screening checkpoint in Ao Nang”. He said he had no intention to offend the people of Phuket.

The deputy governor had also reportedly initially refused to allow people from Phuket to enter Krabi.

The Phuket provincial administration has been allowing thousands of migrant workers and non-resident Thais to return to leave the island their home provinces. They had been stranded in Phuket, mostly without work, after the Phuket governor sealed off the land, sea and air borders of the island in early April.

Those who want to leave are being told to apply for a “Fit to Travel” permits from the provincial administration, which then have to shown to officials at the Tha Chatchai checkpoint on departure, checkpoints along the way, and their destinations. Some 50,000+ people have registered to leave Phuket since the land border partially opened last week, more than 10% of the island’s permanent population.

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