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Phuket International Airport getting ready for reopening

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Phuket International Airport getting ready for reopening | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

Phuket International Airport is readying for the island’s reopening by beginning the vaccination process of all employees. The mandatory inoculations is hoped to increase confidence among foreign visitors, as many who have received a Covid vaccine, can now enter the island with relaxed quarantine measures.

Just yesterday, officials confirmed that 2 flights from Germany will kick off the airport’s reopening, with arrivals this month and next month. Thai Airways International has also announced that it will open 2 direct flights from Frankfurt to Phuket, with arrivals to the island on April 3 and May 8. Phuket Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo says the international terminal at Phuket airport is officially open as of yesterday.

“The CCSA has now approved relaxed quarantine conditions for tourists who have been vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19 to visit Thailand from April 1. We hope this will signal the start of tourists starting to return to Phuket and we are delighted to announce the international terminal at Phuket International Airport is now open as of 00:01am on April 1.”

Phuket was given the green light to reopen for international visitors from July 1, with those who are vaccinated, being approved to skip the once-mandatory quarantine (if the island can vaccinate 70% of the population by that time). However, those foreigners arriving from countries that have seen Covid-19 virus variants, or are highly-infected, may not be able to enjoy a reduced quarantine or even skip the quarantine, even if vaccinated.

The government plans to test the reopening plan in Phuket 3 months before other key tourist hot spots, like Koh Samui, to help restart the tourism industry, that was battered for over a year, without its millions of tourists who contributed to 1/5 of the economy before the pandemic. Koh Samui, following Phuket, is also asking for approval to allow foreign travellers to skip quarantine requirements. Thailand is expected to fully reopen to vaccinated travellers in October.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jason

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    If the Thai Government were proactive, they would have already spoken to the most likely countries to visit and worked out direct flights to Phuket without stop overs.

  2. Avatar

    Wayno

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    “being approved to skip the once-mandatory quarantine (if the island can vaccinate 70% of the population by that time)”

    Will it be an official vaccination percentage, or will that be a “whatever number is needed” Thai percentage

  3. Avatar

    Wayno

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Good luck to anyone who pays in advance for Thai Airways services

  4. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Is this 2nd or 3rd time they “reopened”?

  5. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    They will not be 70 percent vaccinated in Phuket for a long, which gives the Thais justification to keep the lucrative quarantine.
    Big announcement, but no change.
    You see . . .

  6. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 3:16 am

    There are no cases on Phuket so the locals are fine anyway and will be vaccinated, but presumably a large amount of people who were working in Phuket but went home are now going to come back, will they be tested and vaccinated as they arrive, and as the vaccine takes a few weeks to be fully effective will they be asked to quarantine?

    The other question is if I book flights and hotel to Phuket and they don’t manage to vaccinate 70% then that’s my holiday gone, not worth the risk.

  7. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Imagine the phuket airport taxi mafia will be hungry by now.
    Be interesting to see what the new taxi fares to patong are.prehaps they will reduce the fares for a ride in their wrecks to something reasonable and behave in a courteous manner towards visitors. they are after all the first point of contact for many visitors and are very important in the impression they will have of the fine folk of phuket.

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      For now they’re exactly the same. Exorbitant!

  8. Avatar

    Kim

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    There is no testing on Phuket thus how do you know there are no infected individuals?

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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.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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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

Tim Newton

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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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