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18 infections today in Phuket creeps closer to 90/week threshold



PHOTO: Daily Covid-19 infection rates creep upward, 2 new sandbox cases. (via Wikimedia)

Today saw an infection spike in new local Covid-19 cases in Phuket, crossing the daily average number that threatens the future of the Sandbox scheme. Officials had laid out several factors that could cause the Sandbox to be reconsidered or even cancelled, chief among them was if weekly infections crossed over 90 people a week. Today saw 18 new local infections as well as 2 new Sandbox arrival infections and to hit the 90 person threshold requires just an average of 13 infections a day.

The rolling weekly total is inching up, with 56 new Covid-19 infections in the last 7 days after dropping to just 1 infection on the 18th and climbing steadily each day since. For total cases that arrived as part of the Sandbox programme, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Public Relations Department of Phuket stated there have been 21 Sandbox infections.

9,530 people have entered as part of the Phuket Sandbox scheme, including 172 new arrivals today, so the number infected amounts to about a quarter of 1%. Today’s new arrivals came for Singapore Airlines and an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi, as well as a private jet arriving at Phuket International Airport.

At the same time, rising infections are closing locations for safety, including the Phuket Airport Office Building, which closed from today through the weekend to be thoroughly sanitised. The Phuket Municipality Office will do the same today and tomorrow. Splash Jungle Water Park, a popular tourist attraction in Mai Khao was scheduled to reopen tomorrow but has further postponed that date to observe Covid-19 safety precautions to try to control the spread of the virus.

Despite the 21 Sandbox travellers infected, the program has done relatively well in keeping Covid-19 at bay, with all 172 arrivals today testing negative as well as all but 2 of the 207 people receiving their second Covid-19 test and all 196 people who took their third test on their 12th or 13th day. Details have not been released on the 2 new international cases.

Phuket has had a total of 870 Covid-19 infections with 763 of them already released from medical care and 9 deaths. In the meantime, over 320,000 people have been fully vaccinated, just 1% shy of the 70% herd immunity target, and another nearly 89,000 are awaiting their second dose.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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