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Government insists Phuket re-opening will go ahead as planned

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / jeiline

The Thai government is adamant the planned re-opening of the southern island of Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists will go ahead. However, with Covid-19 infections rising across the country, some tourism operators say they need more clarification on how. Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit insists the “Phuket sandbox” model is on track for July 1.

“We have neither cancelled nor changed it (the plan to reopen Phuket on July 1). Currently the province is on course to speed up its vaccination programme as its inhabitants prepare to reopen and receive foreign tourists. The Phuket vaccination programme has made much progress as around 100,000 doses have now been given to people. We can meet the target.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, tourism operators in Phuket are calling on the government to clarify how the plan will work, with only 2 months left to prepare. They say rules on entry requirements, travel bubbles, international flight arrangements, and vaccinations all need to be confirmed before then. Operators say it seems highly unlikely 70% of the island will be vaccinated on time, which remains a priority if the plan is to proceed.

However, the eternally optimist governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, says officials are drawing up the standard operating procedures that will govern the sandbox model.

“We will submit a complete plan to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration to receive approval by the end of April, then start taking more concrete action. In the third quarter, this ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme should attract at least 120,000 international arrivals, generating 11 billion baht.”

Meanwhile, Phuket Tourist Association president, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, says tourism officials in the province are still committed to re-opening, but need more clarification from Bangkok.

“Vaccines are just one of many components to make a reopening successful. We still require endorsement from other related authorities such as the Public Health and Foreign Affairs ministries, particularly about whom Thailand has initiated travel agreements with. This is a crucial factor as it’s hard to bring in visitors if they are required to enter quarantine upon their return home.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 10:19 am

    People will only come if the country is open. If the rest of the country is in lockdown, forget it.

  2. Avatar

    TV

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Why would a tourist that, after 1,5 years, finally can fly again go to rainy season Phuket?

  3. Avatar

    Ted

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Again Thais show how difficult it is for them top learn from [very close] history, i.e. let the (un-)successful Songkran speak for itself …or not

    Since the 1 of July is not even 2.5 months away, for how long will Phuket be “on course to speed up its vaccination”??

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 11:53 am

    I’m interested in the plan, I miss Thailand. Either August or September works for me. While I’m fully vaccinated and have no problem preflight testing, I have no intention of post flight testing. I will not risk getting a false positive and getting sent off to a Thai hospital for two of my three week vacation. So that little detail is important for me to find out by say June when I will book my trip. While not a fan of Phuket, if stuck there only a week it works for me. If not, I’m headed to Europe. They are opening to vaccinate Americans this summer and seeing Europe with little to no crowds is a pretty appealing backup plan.

  5. Avatar

    Steven

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    The idea is fantastic but as the government have shown they are too bloody slow. They’ve had the AZ vaccine recipe for months now. As someone who lives and works here I would much prefer to land in rainy Phuket and have some freedom after seeing family than landing in rainy BKK and being locked in ASQ for 7/14 days.

  6. Avatar

    Billibob

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Typical Thai ruling elite, money is everything whilst Thai lives and health do not matter. Why are the people of Phuket being given vaccine priority over the elderly Thai population, Healthcare staff and care workers….because making money from tourists is the priority. Why have the rich elite, government officials, police and military been vaccinated before the elderly Thai population, Healthcare staff and care workers….because in the eyes of this military junta the average Thai is irrelevant. Where is the vaccine roll out plan…. there isn’t one because they have failed so miserably in the management of the virus and vaccine procurement they do not have any idea of what, when and how many doses of vaccine then can actually get delivered in to Thailand.

  7. Avatar

    Tony

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Wishful thinking..

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    @EdwardV – I am glad someone else sees the danger of as a false test of positive, followed by a lucrative 14 days in hospital for the Thais.
    I keep posting this danger but am ignored.
    Be aware, this is Thailand. There are no limits for Thai scamming tourists. No scam is too foul!
    A false test of ferang positive for covid 19, and they will make a fortune out of an unneeded quarantine in a vastly overpriced hotel.

  9. Avatar

    Night Rider

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    16 German tourists reportedly arrived in Phuket some two weeks ago. Did they have a good time? I’m waiting for Thailand to open before I come.

  10. Avatar

    GeorgeA

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 12:17 am

    Just now, the government is talking about requiring all tourists, even vaccinated to do the full 14 day quarantine (in your room the whole time) so this is nonsense.

  11. Avatar

    Northern Scott

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:39 am

    The Phuket sandbox plan in July will be acceptable for me. I am looking forward to the details, hope they draft the details pronto;I wish to find a good jetfare rate soon. The Tourism Authority and hotels will have my business in July if they can do so. Looking forward to the beaches and cuisine.

  12. Avatar

    Henry Ford

    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 10:09 am

    I have cancelled my June holiday to Phuket. Just not risking a (false) positive test upon arrival and spending 14 days in a hostel, at my expense. When i can travel freely i will come.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Friday Covid Update: 2,256 new infections and 30 deaths

Tim Newton

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Thailand’s public health department has reported its tally for the past 24 hours from around the country. There has been 30 new Covid-related deaths and 2,256 new cases. Out of today’s new infection total, 183 of those were from the prison system. Yesterday the numbers jumped substantially because of the release of case numbers from two highly infected prisons – Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.

• Thailand’s Volleyball Association is still hopeful of sending a team to compete in the Nations League in Italy, despite a Custer of cases in the team’s training camp. The TVA has withdrawn the women’s team from the tournament after 22 players and officials tested positive earlier this week. The head of the team announced results of further tests were expected before next Monday.

“We will try to send a team to compete in this event. We hope our athletes are healthy and ready for this competition. If necessary, we may call up some more players.”

• A worker’s camp in Bangkok’s north has been closed by officials after 196 people tested positive for Covid. The new cluster was discovered during proactive testing at the Italian-Thai workers’ camp on Soi Yai Phol, Chalermprakiat Chulabhorn Road in Lak Si, just south of the Don Mueang Airport area.

• After pumping up its numbers for domestic travel for the last quarter of 2021 yesterday, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has now downgraded its outlook for domestic trips and revenues for the rest of this year “because of the economic downturn”.

The TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said last year’s 90.5 million domestic trips, supported by the Thai government’s stimulus measures, such as “We Travel Together” and “Tour Teaw Thai” (Travel Around Thailand), have set the bar for expectations this year. But last year’s receipts also include the first 3 months of 2020 which were largely unaffected by the approaching pandemic response and border closures.

Mr. Yuthasak says that the measures could start by the end of June or early July, when the current wave of infections “is hopefully under control”.

SOURCES: FRB | Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 organisers of Phuket’s Kolour superspreader event charged

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 3 managers involved in the Kolour superspreader event have been charged.

As Thailand still wrestles to control the third wave of Covid-19, much of which stems from entertainment venues in Bangkok and a massive party in Phuket, Patong police announced that the managers of the Phuket venues that hosted the Kolour superspreader event will be charged under the Emergency Decree. The case report was filed with the public prosecutor yesterday according to the Patong police chief, confirming that 3 people will be prosecuted for the event.

The Kolour Beachside Festival was held April 2 and 3 with events at Café Del Mar Phuket in Kamala, and Shelter Phuket Dance and Night Club and Illuzion Nightclub, both in Patong. Before the festival, Phuket had gone more than a hundred days without any new Covid-19 infections, but by April 7 the Phuket provincial Public Health office announced 8 new infections, half of which had been at the Kolour parties. In the following weeks, officials plead for attendees to be tested as infections spread.

Charges were delayed in being filed to the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s office as a special investigation committee was ordered to be created to oversee the investigation at the request of Region 8’s Police Commander. That committee brought together officials from various law enforcement in the area including the Patong Police, Kamala Police, Phuket Provincial Police, and the Region 8 Police to investigate the Kolour event before anyone was charged.

The manager of Café Del Mar, along with the managing director and the manager of Shelter and Illuzion, which are under the same management team, will be charged for the Kolour festival violating Thailand’s Emergency Decree that was declared to help protect the country from Covid-19 outbreaks. A breach of the Emergency Decree can be held liable for up to 40,000 Baht and 2 years in jail under Section 9 of the Decree.

The latter 2 are also facing charges of operating an unlicensed entertainment venue. This carries the possibility of another year in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht, in accordance with Thai Law under Section 26 of the Entertainment Place Act.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 patients with high blood pressure at high risk of death -CCSA

Thaiger

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Stock photo via Bumrungrad Hospital

Covid-19 patients with high blood pressure have the highest risk of death followed by patients infected with the coronavirus who underlying conditions of diabetes or high cholesterol, according to data from Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 486 coronavirus-related deaths. Out of those fatalities, 392 were reported after April 1. Using data from the recent wave of infections, the CCSA found that those infected with Covid-19 who also have high blood pressure are at the most at risk of death, followed by those who are diabetic and those who have high cholesterol.

Others who are at risk of severe infection or death if infected with Covid-19 include those with chronic kidney disease, heart disease, obesity or lung disease.

Most of the deaths since April 1 have been in Bangkok, making up 46% of the death count in the recent wave, followed and provinces just outside the capital. Most patients who died while infected with Covid-19 have been over 60 years old with underlying health conditions. Several young adults, in their 20s and 30s, who died while infected with Covid-19, had underlying conditions of diabetes and obesity.

Covid-19 patients with high blood pressure at high risk of death -CCSA | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: PR Thai Government

 

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