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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Kim

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    It’s a disgrace and rather disgusting that whoever attended these events are not voluntarily going to take a C19 test. I sincerely hope that those who got infected and elected not to get tested will be held fully responsible for their selfish decision.

  2. Avatar

    luca

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    with the Thai scam rate only a crazy masochist would follow the indications of the authority, even if they tested negative I am sure they would be squeezed like lemons in this period of economic crisis.
    It seems that the infection is spreading rapidly, the only solution is the vaccine.

  3. Avatar

    Stefano

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    How can phuket reopen on the 1st of July if they are not able to test all the people living in phuket??

  4. Avatar

    gigi

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    It is time they took all foreigners by the ears and sent them back to their own country

  5. Avatar

    Robert Elliot

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Looks like the attendees are mostly young white westerners. If they are tourists they have likely left the country or wont bother going for testing. However if they are ESL teachers they should get tested.

  6. Avatar

    J West

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    In the Phuket case testing should be made mandatory for all…no exceptions. A grace period might be offered to test and trace..if attendees still have voluntarily tested, with all penalties and responsibilities that go with their own choices, then automatic quarantine followed by deportation to their home countries.

  7. Avatar

    Farang

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    Those idiots have money to attend all this kind of nonsense parties, but not willing to have the medical team to check them out for COVID even though is free for them. And if they positive is purely their own faults. Can’t blame anyone for COVID infection. Selfish yolo

  8. Avatar

    Wayno

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    @Kim would you go to be tested knowing that if you test positive with NO symptoms you will be dumped into a compound with hundreds of other positive cases, sharing toilets and showers with no aircon and basic food for two weeks ? I doubt it very much.
    It is the governments fault people are reluctant to be tested.

  9. Avatar

    Kim

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:35 am

    @wayno. Come down from your high horse. Fit in or fuck off. Obnoxious foreigners like you gives the rest of us a bad rep. Don’t blame your short comings on others. The fact that you would not do the test and potentially infect other people is disgusting. If you by own free will went to party and didn’t adhere to social distancing nor wear a mask, it’s your own fault. By the way, if you go to one of the international hospitals and test positive, then you can elect to be admitted, rather simple.

  10. Avatar

    funny coz its true

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:34 am

    They did that deliberately, to stop people from getting tested. they are so transparent it hurts

  11. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Why were such things allowed, in the first place?

    Play with fire, you’ll get burned.

    Weren’t Thais taught this as children? It surely seems their adults don’t understand it, yet.

  12. Avatar

    ynwaps

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I’d only get tested if I had symptoms

  13. Avatar

    Maverick

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Allow people to self isolate if they are asymptomatic after signing an agreement to remain at home, with clear warning and checks, that failure to comply can result in criminal charges and possible deportation – would deal with the problem.

  14. Avatar

    Sam C

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Test all farang in Phuket ASAP, especially the under 40’s.
    Worse case scenario they have to borrow to pay for their hospitalisation
    They showed total disregard to Covid as they all believe it’s only going to be like having the flu
    Most of them probably still live with their parents (sponging off them by not paying rent) so too bad so sad if they cop 14 days in a field hospital, might just teach them a valuable life lesson

  15. Avatar

    thailand til i die

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    As a Thai citizen, I am relieved and grateful our country has avoided the worst of the virus (relative to other countries). That said, it is unhelpful to blame foreigners, farangs, hi sos and migrant workers. The govt is trying to avoid lockdown, or too many restrictions- we must be appreciative that we can still work and feed our family.

    The Kolours event, and Songkran travel, was and are legal, and government sanctioned. Wear masks, keep social distance and please stay safe everybody.

  16. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    “Come down from your high horse. Fit in or fuck off. Obnoxious foreigners like you gives the rest of us a bad rep.”

    With you 1,000,000% on this, Kim.

    It’s no surprise that Thais are starting to despise some of the farangs in Phuket and Pattaya when they see some complaining very publicly that they want borders opened so they can make a profit when most Thais very clearly don’t, and now they see others who aren’t prepared to either be tested and quarantined under the same conditions as anyone else or to pay for it if they want special treatment.

    Mandatory quarantine for those testing positive works and lets the other 99%+ of the population get on with a normal life, while only inconveniencing the 1%- for a fortnight, as New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, amongst others, have shown.

    Thais who don’t like it, like those who’ve led to big problems for everyone else in Khon Kaen and elsewhere, should be jailed as many Thais have said on social media, and farangs who don’t should be jailed, blacklisted for life, and kicked out.

    These selfish, entitled scumbags give all farangs a bad name.

  17. Avatar

    JDC

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Did no one notice that the picture published with this article is from the 2018 event?

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 11:02 am

      The photo is credited as such.

  18. Avatar

    kelvin bamfield

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:44 am

    People need to educate themselves = the cycles used in the testing have to be questioned – 20-25 cycles is enough – however most of the testing companies contacted are cycling at 40 + and this will often produce a false positive – please don’t slag off other people without knowing the facts

  19. Avatar

    Jake

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    I was in Phuket at the time Kolour festival was going on. It was at Cafe Del Mar and was a mix of farang and thais. Cafe del Mar is mostly outdoor open air venue, which should avoid the worst type of super spreader event.

    There was another massive festival in Phuket at the time where people tested positive, which was Laguna Revive 555 Festival. I stayed right beside it. That festival was mostly Thai. Massive amount of people there for this festival.

    Let’s all be honest here, when covid cases are low, people are going out and enjoying themselves. No one are social distancing, not wearing masks. I live in Chiang Mai and before Dec of last year when cases were low, Chiang Mai nightlife was in full swing. Once cases rise, people change behavior and relax for a couple weeks. Rinse, repeat.

    Covid isn’t going away. It’s endemic. We’re going to have to figure out how to live with it.

    The saddest thing about this most recent surge is seeing how under prepared TH has been at dealing with a minor uptick in cases. We’ve had over a year to prep for a surge and if we want to open up, were going to have to figure out how to deal with much larger surges.

    We need to allow non acute cases to self isolate at home. We need to sell self testing kits at pharmacies. We need to provide people with information on how to best deal with the virus on their own and provide tele medicine.

    Thailand will have a larger outbreak at some point, and instead of pointing fingers, were going to need to figure out how to deal with it. There should be no shame in catching the virus, but there should be responsibility in not spreading once positive.

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Monday, April 19, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      Covid is NOT endemic yet, not even close, especially in Thailand.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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