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Phuket governer reviews rules, new details for July 1 arrivals

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Thai Airways will bring the first passengers to Phuket from Europe.

In announcing what is expected for the first arrivals in the Phuket Sandbox plan on July 1, Governor Narong Woonsew mostly reconfirmed the rules set out, though a few details and additions came to light. Thailand will welcome back international travellers with the first international flights arriving next Friday.

The first arrivals to Phuket will be fully vaccinated Europeans from low- and medium-risk countries. They will fly on Thai Airways flights from London, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Paris, and Zurich on July 1.

As has been established during the constant evolution of the Phuket Sandbox reopening rules, all travellers must be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test as well as US $100,000 worth of Covid-19 insurance. They will be required to stay in a Safety and Health Administration Plus certified hotel and must stay within Phuket province for at least 14 days before travelling elsewhere in Thailand. (Shorter stays are allowed if the passenger is leaving Thailand after their stay.)

One new tidbit of information involves that SHA Plus accommodation. While arrivals are required to have pre-booked a hotel and must stay 14 days in an approved property, the Phuket governor revealed that arriving travellers must stay in the same hotel for the first week, and in the second 7 days of their stay, hotel changes are allowed a maximum of 2 times.

A lot of discussion has centred around the plan to track all international arrivals during those 14 days in Phuket, with talk of tracking bracelets and other security measures. Governor Narong announced today that all arrivals would be required to install and utilize the MorChana app to check in to everywhere they go, as has been common already in many parts of Thailand.

While it had been stated already that these rules apply to all nationalities (provided they are travelling from low- to medium-risk countries they had been in for at least 3 weeks previously), the Phuket governor reiterated that this includes Thai nationals returning home. He also mentioned that the Covid-19 testing for arriving flight passengers would be enforced for all arrivals to Phuket overland and by sea as well, somewhat of a new revelation.

This includes Thai people returning to Phuket to work, a point often brought up when debating Covid-19 safety when all arrivals will be vaccinated, but the majority of Thai people have not been. 70% of Phuket residents have been vaccinated, but this does not account for a large segment of the normal Phuket population working in tourism that left for their hometowns with everything closed due to Covid-19 but would return back to work as tourism restarts.

The testing regimen for anyone entering Phuket is a Covid-19 screening upon arrival and quarantining in their hotel room until a negative result is returned. (Critics note an alarming silence about what happens if someone tests positive.) A second test will be given on the 6th or 7th day and a third on the 12th or 13th day. After the 2 week arrival period, those wishing to travel to other parts of Thailand would be tested again before exiting.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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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.

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