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Thailand News: Power restored to Samui after three-day blackout

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Power restored on Thai resort islands after three-day blackout
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Power was finally restored to the Thai resort islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan early this morning after a three-day blackout prompted thousands of peak-season tourists to leave.

The electricity outage, caused by a rupture in a submarine cable connecting the islands to the southern Thai province of Surat Thani, disrupted businesses throughout the islands.

Most of the islands’ small hotels and bungalows closed, while some big hotels managed to stay open using private generators and candles.The island’s airport, however, remained open, allowing tourists to leave.

Surat Thani Governor Chatpong Chatphut had yesterday declared the islands a disaster zone. Businesses have sustained losses estimated at 10 billion baht (US$322 million), Samui Tourism Association Chairman Thanasak Somwong said.

Sixteen large mobile generators had been moved to Samui as an emergency measure, Thanasak added while expressing concerns about meeting the island’s long-term power needs.

Tourist arrivals on Samui and Phangan have been increasing about 20 per cent per year and last year hit a record of more than 800,000 visitors, officials said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infected Thai actress Ploy criticised for Koh Pha Ngan holiday

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thai Actress Ploy Chermarn Boonyasak posted her Phangan holiday timeline after Covid-19 diagnosis. (via Instagram)

Covid-19 infected Thai actress Ploy Chermarn Boonyasak has drawn a formal complaint from Koh Pha Ngan’s district chief officer after a careless holiday. The Pha Ngan chief officer met with the police superintendent yesterday to file the complaint after Ploy spent 2 weeks on Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, on holiday from Bangkok.

She did not self-quarantine, as is required from people from high-risk red zones like Bangkok in order to be permitted to enter the Surat Thani province. She and was often seen maskless around the tropical resort islands while out and about sightseeing and while dining out in various restaurants.

Ploy arrived on Koh Pha Ngan on April 26, and, without adhering to the mandatory 2-week self-isolation period, toured the island and neighbouring Koh Samui island. The famous actress tested positive for Covid-19 after her trip when she arrived back in Bangkok and took to her Instagram account to announce it to her fans. She then shared her timeline with the locations she visited during her holiday on Koh Phangan and Koh Samui and the approximate times she was there to help with contact tracing.

According to the Pha Ngan district chief officer, many people who were identified to have eaten at the same restaurants as Ploy have now been tested for Covid-19 with no positive infections diagnosed as of now.

Ploy issued an apology via her social media accounts, saying the Koh Pha Ngan trip was careless. She did stress however that she had been cautious before and during the trip, stated that she experienced no symptoms at any time during her holiday and that she had taken a Covid-19 test before travelling, the results of which were negative.

“I’m really sorry. It was my fault that I decided to travel during the time that it’s not recommended. I admit that I let my guard down.”

Her timeline via Instagram…

  • 11/04 1st Covid examination
  • 12/04 result found Negative (no infection)
  • 13-20 / 04 confined to home
  • 20/04 2nd Covid examination
  • 21/04 Negative result (no infection)
  • 24/04 Third covid examination
  • 25/04 Negative (no infection)
    • Travelled to Samui by Bangkok airway, flight PG 129 (Suvarnabhumi)
    • accommodation at Absolute Sanctuary
    • 16.00 – 17.00 overlap stone.
    • 18.00 -20.00 Visited a friend at Thunya Samui
    • 21.00-21.45 Dinner at Sala Samui Chaweng Beach
  • 26/04 Travelled to Koh Phangan by boat at Maenam Pier at 9.00
    • stayed at Baan Malali, lunch at Koh Raham restaurant, returned to hotel.
    • 15.00 Went to Chalokla Pier.
    • 18.30-21.00 Met friends
  • 27/04 Stayed in hotel until 14.00 ate at Ban Bunphom and returned to the hotel.
  • 28 / 04- 01/05 Stayed at Baan Malali throughout the period of 13.00 moving. [sic]
  • 01/05 checked-in Le Divine Comedie
  • 02/05 Met a friend at the beach next to the accommodation.
  • 03/05 Went out for lunch at a friend’s house. And returned to accommodation.
  • 04-05 / 05 Stayed in and rested and didn’t go out.
  • 06/05 Went out to buy food at Harbor House and buy fruit from the shop next door and came back to the restaurant.
  • 07/05 Didn’t go anywhere.
  • 08/05 Traveled back to Bangkok
    • Took a boat back from Phangan to Samui
    • Bangkok airway flight PG 124 at 9.30
    • 13.00 checked for COVID again
  • 09/05 Found the infection and continued treatment at the Hospitel.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Koh Samui

Samui tourism official calls for inter-provincial travel ban to flatten the curve prior to July re-opening

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Yavor Punchev for Unsplash

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui says the island is still pinning its hopes on a July 1 re-opening for vaccinated foreign tourists. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee remains optimistic, despite Thailand now battling a third wave of Covid-19, with Samui reporting 50 infections.

He says vaccines are being rolled out out on Samui, although a number of doses have had to be diverted to Covid hotspots elsewhere in the country. Around 30%, or 25,000 people, have already received 2 doses of the vaccine, with very few side-effects reported. However, the pace may slow as a result of some of Samui’s allocation now being sent to other provinces, in an attempt to curb the spread there. Ratchaporn says that once it receives a further supply of vaccine doses, the island has the capacity to administer 25,000 shots over 5 days, at 4 vaccination centres.

“We firmly believe that the vaccination process will be completed by June which will be in time for the re-opening plan.”

Until then, officials in the southern province of Surat Thani and on Samui itself, are strengthening disease prevention measures and travel restrictions. Ratchaporn is calling on the government to impose an inter-provincial travel ban to halt the spread of the virus. He says doing so would be more effective than closing businesses for 14 days, with the possibility of endless extensions.

The Bangkok Post reports that tourism operators are preparing tour programmes for the Samui Sealed Routes, whereby tourists would travel to sealed beach locations at Tham Rang in Angthong National Marine Park, as well as partaking in wellness activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.

Before embarking on a “sealed tour” however, vaccinated foreign tourists would have to remain in their hotel rooms on the day they arrive. On day 2, they would be required to take a Covid test and, if negative, would be allowed leave the room and use other hotel facilities. From day 4, they would be allowed leave the hotel, with another Covid test on day 7. If the result is negative, tourists can travel around the island as well as elsewhere in the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All foreigners eligible for Covid-19 vaccine under Thailand’s vaccination plan, eventually

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Vincent Vega on Flickr

All expats living in Thailand are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, according to deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natapanu Nopakun. He says Thailand plans to roll out a “massive vaccination plan” to vaccinate all people who are living in Thailand, including foreign residents.

“All people residing in Thailand, regardless of nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the plan.”

He made the announcement during the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing today. Natapanu says more information on the vaccination plan for foreigners residing in Thailand will be released at a later date.

Health officials in Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist destinations that have been said to be of “economic significance,” have already been rolling out mass vaccination campaigns in an effort to reach herd immunity and reopen the islands to foreign tourists by July. But the vast majority of foreigners in the country remain confused about exactly how they can go about registering, or when they can expect to be included in Thailand’s vaccine roll out.

An expat who works as an English teacher at a school in Koh Samui says he received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine this month. He says the school helped with the registration process and both doses of Covid-19 vaccine were free.

 

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