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Phang Nga reopening and “Phuket Sandbox” island hop extensions postponed

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by Olivier Bergeron for Unsplash

The Phang Nga’s reopening to travellers from overseas has been postponed until August 15, and the “7+7 Island Hopping” extension to the “Phuket Sandbox,” which includes a sealed route to Phang Nga, has been postponed indefinitely.

The province’s reopening to foreign tourists under the “Phang Nga Prompt” campaign was initially set for August 1, but the scheme has not yet been approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The move comes with the tightening of disease control measures both locally and nationwide. Both Phuket and Phang Nga, are closing borders to the general public, with the exception of emergency vehicles and those delivering medicine or other essential supplies. A spokesperson for the CCSA said, “entry to the province by land, air and sea domestically is prohibited.”

The “Phang Nga Prompt” travel scheme also is part of the “7+7 Island Hopping” extension to the “Phuket Sandbox,” allowing travellers from overseas who are vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Phuket and travel to approved islands in Phang Nga, Surat Thani and Krabi after their first 7 days. Travellers would need to test negative for Covid-19 before going to other islands.

The islands include Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao in Surat Thani province; Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay Beach in Krabi province, and Khao Lak, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga province.

Phang Nga governor Jamroen Thippayaphongthada announced on Friday that the reopening scheme had been postponed, adding that other factors in the delayed reopening are that the province’s “integration with the Mor Chana contact tracing platform is not yet complete” and that new Covid-19 clusters have been reported in the past week. The governor says officials need more time to “publicise disease control measures to the locals at the community level.” 19 Covid-19 cases were reported in Phang Nga today, 4 on yesterday and 41 on Saturday.

Local officials had earlier estimated that the reopening scheme would draw in 20,000 tourists to the province within the first month and generated more than 2.6 billion baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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