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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?




Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Sounds remarkably like how “self quarantine” is applied in most countries, including most of the West – a complete waste of time.

    … and, FWIW, how many lockdowns are applied with even the police and the PM having no idea what the rules are (with, inevitably, the UK being a prime example)?

    SAGE, in the UK, estimated that over 80% of those directly told to self-quarantine in the UK failed to do so.

    Here, out in the sticks where everybody knows everybody else, it’s simple as anyone returning from selling lottery tickets in another province either self-quarantines outside their village for a fortnight or they’re ostracised for life, but that isn’t possible in a big city or a tourist area.

    Policies have to be clear, not open to interpretation, and enforceable as well as enforced. Far too few are.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    It also begs the question whether they ever needed to be applied to be effective.

    The threat that they would be evidently kept the numbers going to Phuket down, so keeping the risk down, so regardless of whether they were applied or not … well … job jobbed.

    • Avatar

      Michael BKK

      Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 4:31 pm

      So this is what it has come down to talking to yourself on a forum how very sad you really don’t have much in life do you little Johnny …

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 8:05 pm

        Do I really need to point out that since you’ve replied to my second point I’m evidently not talking to myself?

  3. Avatar


    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Well it was enforced. Coming back from Bangkok with my wife 2 weeks ago, they asked us to register online.
    After exactly one week a force made by police, local government representatives (9 persons) came to our apartment to check if we had any symptoms and if we stayed at home all the time.
    After that they came back every single day until the quarantine was over. 80 people per day checked only in Kata/Karon/Patong areas which are deserted

    • Avatar

      Tony Andrews

      Monday, January 25, 2021 at 10:15 am

      Did they have Baht signs in their eyes?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 6:40 pm


      While according to Sage less than 20% supposed to self quarantine in the UK observe the regs, only 3% are actually checked – with a telephone call.

      You reap as you sow …

  4. Avatar

    Bang Clock

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Any human that looks down on others lacks empathy and intelligence. They are the real virus.

  5. Avatar

    Count Dracula

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Little John has no other purpose in life. He is obsessed. Fortunately for us all, he has no power. Imagine him in a powerful position controlling people and making important decisions!!

  6. Avatar

    Tony Andrews

    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Understandable, when Thais lose money following rules, they ignore the rules.
    Why not also ignore quarantine for foreigners arriving from abroad?
    They cannot be many enduring quarantine anyway . . .

  7. Avatar


    Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    So I can go to Trad city or Pattaya city too by coach and not self quarantine or register at multiple government departments on arrival? TAT should be updating the nonsensical restrictions constantly, if they want to increase domestic tourism.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      No, those going by road are told / not told exactly the same thing, as has been widely reported here.

      The “nonsensical restrictions” have nothing to do with either “the TAT” or “to increase domestic tourism”, as I would have thought was obvious – while few international tourists are going to put up with a 14 day quarantine, you can pretty much guarantee that NO domestic tourists are going to go for a holiday anywhere in Thailand where they have to first spend 14 days there in quarantine!

      TBF, though, news of the restrictions has actually been widely reported in the Thai media and social media – including the restrictions being lifted. That may not have filtered down to Suk 13, but nevertheless it was reported and updated as it happened

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