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Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October

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Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October | Thaiger

Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season. The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

Protecting the locals would include achieving herd immunity in time for reopening the province, which would need 70% of the population to be vaccinated. The local government’s goal would not wait for the government to roll out vaccines, and instead, use its own resources to vaccinate the public. Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association told the Thai Enquirer over the phone, that they won’t stop pushing for ways to help the tourist destination survive.

“I think there must be a solution that balances controlling the outbreak and stimulating the economy.”

The island is also looking to waive the 14 day quarantine, with PM Prayut recently changing his stance by announcing that a quarantine waiver is being considered for those vaccinated tourists.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Initial research shows that around 250,000 citizens per month must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Initially, the province’s request was denied by the federal government, but business leaders are not giving up hope. Recently, they submitted a petition to PM Prayut to appeal the denial citing lack of income, mounting debts and increasing financial disputes due to over eight months without international or domestic flights.

The second wave has also plummeted tourism even lower than before, as the industry has seen a 93% drop in visitors since the same time last year.

Phuket has already kicked off its vaccine rollout as of yesterday, after receiving a delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab. Priority is being given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials that have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    “The local government’s goal would not wait for the government to roll out vaccines, and instead, use its own resources to vaccinate the public.”

    No approved Covid-19 vaccines are commercially available yet – NONE – so unless Phuket is producing it’s own vaccines it has no “resources” of its own to use.

    This is no more than an appeal to populism and electioneering – petitioning, appealing and requesting something they already know doesn’t exist.

    Until vaccines are readily available and rolled out by the government, it’s just more hot air – why vaccines haven’t yet been made available and rolled out in numbers, though, is a very different issue.

  2. Avatar

    Nipral

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    At last a slightly good idea that could somehow help the tourism industry and curb
    unemployment. Provided this military government doesn’t invent impossible terms and conditions… Also how about -16yo children ? Shall we leave them home ?

  3. Avatar

    zig

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    only if quarantine is removed

  4. Avatar

    Hajo von Keller

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Not bad but it is not understandable, why so late! Others are pushing for 1st July. I would suggest, Phuket adjusts its policy to the same goals as others in Thailand do.

    https://openthailandsafely.org/

  5. Avatar

    Jason

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    I think that the only way life gets back to anything like normal is vaccination above 70% of the population. Everyone wants certainty; the tourism industry, the workers, the tourists, citizens. We, all of us, can’t sustain the current situation indefinitely. Governments have had a year to talk to each other and work out agreements. Governments that have made decisions in isolation have failed time and time again. So let’s influence our governments to get agreements in place so that there can be universally agreed norms. We’ve done it before…it’s called a passport (a universally recognised document), so vaccination proof shouldn’t need us to reinvent the wheel.

  6. Avatar

    Nouvel

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Better be from July, october too late for thousands of ailing companies related to tourism therefore much more jobless again

  7. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    This is twisted logic, if a tourist has been fully vaccinated he’s not allowed in until everyone in Phuket has been vaccinated, which suggests the vaccine works in Phuket but not elsewhere.

    If a tourist has been fully vaccinated and takes negative tests at departure and arrival then that tourist does not have Covid, so why wait until October, this spells disaster for local businesses

  8. Avatar

    BangkokBen

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    To get any number of tourists, not only will you have to get rid of the quarantine, but also the COE, “fit to fly”, multiple Covid tests, insurance and all the other nonsense.

  9. Avatar

    Social Observer

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    China’s Sinovac vaccine has been found to be only 50% effective in Brazilian clinical trials. Half the people in Phuket will get Covid. That will chase the tourists away faster than a tsunami warning.

  10. Avatar

    Quality Assurance in Canada

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Hey Thaiger, the Comments are not visible in any of the articles ???

  11. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 4:08 am

    This is another plan from the tourism side that’s doomed for the scrap heap.

    Where are they getting the vaccine from? The government, which has already said the tourist areas would get priority. The government’s plan is already rolling down the track and won’t get knocked off that track by a plan from Phuket.

    Tourists would have to be limited to Phuket and the government would have to secure Phuket so those on it can’t go to other parts of Thailand that don’t have herd immunity. A lot of work compared to executing a plan that’s already rolling down the track that takes into account all of Thailand.

  12. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 5:44 am

    I thought this plan died awhile back, what it the purpose of bringing it back? The government plan to prioritize vaccinations in Phuket and four other locations, and then open in the 3rd quarter is better. In addition, as John points out, there are no vaccines to purchase anywhere. Won’t be this year. Doesn’t make any sense.

  13. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Exactly, Ben and Ed V.

    If there are no vaccines to buy, WTF is the point in putting forward a plan that’s completely dependent on buying vaccines??? 😕

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

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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Transport

Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui

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Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's version of the Suez Canal blockage.

Footbridges in Phuket stood in the way of a luxury yacht travelling from its home in Phuket to Koh Samui when the boat was too tall to pass. Police received a call around 8 pm last night from the truck driver after his trailer carrying the yacht had trouble getting under one of several bridges for walkers to pass over the highway. The boat was travelling down Thepkrasattri Road, where it was stopped by the bridge near Baan Tha Reua School. The boat also had trouble at the pedestrian bridge at the Provincial Electricity Authority Thalang Branch and the bridge at Baan Lipon School in Srisoonthorn.

All the bridges were supposed to have a 5-metre clearance, though one observer speculated that all the repaving of the road over the years may have raised the road and lowered the clearance. Traffic police responded to the first bridge incident by sending officers to direct traffic and make sure bikes and cars didn’t pass and impeded progress on freeing the boat. The second incident about 30 minutes later was resolved by letting air out of the truck’s tires to lower it just enough to pass under the bridge. The third snag prompted the driver to go in person to the Thalang Police station to request help yet again.

This time police were less amused and suggested the truck driver try to resolve the issue himself and call back to the police only if he was unable to free the luxury yacht. A traffic police officer went to follow up with the stranded boat at the end of his shift and found the driver had given up and decided to return the yacht to its Phuket origin at Boat Lagoon Marina in Koh Kaew. The boat, now damaged from the bridge bumps, wasn’t going to make it to Surat Thani to be sailed to Koh Samui on this journey. The boat radar had broken off on one of the bridges. No word on any major damage to the pedestrian bridges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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