Phuket officials alarmed by number of tourists testing positive on arrival

PHOTO: Phuket International Airport - HKT

Officials on the holiday island of Phuket have expressed alarm at the number of foreign tourists testing positive on arrival and are pointing the finger at allegedly fake results from pre-departure PCR tests. Deputy governor Pichet Panapong raised the issue during a call with the CCSA, in which he urged the government’s Covid-19 task force to improve screening measures for overseas arrivals.

“False Covid-19 RT-PCR test results are assumed to have something to do with the sharp rise in the number of post-arrival positive tests among tourists. These problems are something beyond Phuket’s authority to deal with and help is needed from the CCSA’s operations centre.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, some travellers are also arriving armed only with antigen test results, despite pre-departure PCR testing being a condition of entry. Phuket now wants the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand to issue a warning to airlines who allow passengers to travel without the necessary documentation.

Pichet has expressed concern that the number of infected arrivals is only going to go up as more people register through the re-launched Test & Go entry scheme. If this happens, it will place an increased burden on the island’s hospitels and hospital isolation facilities.

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The director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, Dr Veerasak Lorthongkham, says an infection rate of 3% is being reported from day 1 tests on arriving passengers. He adds that the situation is still under control but if the rate surpasses 5%, hospitel and hotel isolation rooms risk being overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, the CCSA has reported that up to 40% of over 20,000 applicants who registered for Test & Go on day 1 of its re-opening are travelling to Phuket. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Thailand welcomed 7,742 overseas arrivals, 344 of whom tested positive on arrival.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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