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‘Immigration Cards’ coming by year end

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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‘Immigration Cards’ coming by year end | The Thaiger
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BANGKOK (TNA): A new immigration card will be introduced for Thais and foreigners who frequently enter and leave Thailand, the state-run Thai News Agency (TNA) has reported.

The agency quoted Immigration Police chief Pol Lt Gen Chatchawan Suksomchit as saying holders of the “Immigration Card” will include those who travel in and out of the country three to five times a year, regardless of their nationality.

Immigration Card holders will bypass some Immigration procedures such as being screened for being a criminal suspect or being on a police or immigration watch list.

The Immigration Card is part of the efforts to promote tourism and investment in Thailand, TNA reported.

Meanwhile, Immigration Police will open a 1178 call center early next year to provide tourism-related information in eight languages.

In addition, Immigration Police will take part in the nationwide crackdown on the exploitation of foreign labor and the flesh trade throughout the country, Lt Gen Chatchawan was quoted as saying.

The report set off a frenzy of speculation and commentary on web forums, where many people posted comments such as “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Others called for more details – such as how much the card would cost and what the procedures might be to obtain one.

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Tourism

Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today

Jack Burton

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Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: tielandtoThailand

Chon Buri and Hua Hin aren’t the only places reopening their beaches. Today, Ao Manao, the scenic beach in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan will also be open to the public. The crescent shaped bay belongs to the Air Force Wing 5 miltary base. Like all Thai beaches, it’s been closed for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Monday, the beachfront Fa Chom Kluen hotel has been available for booking for overnight stays. The beach will also open for swimming.

The reopening of Ao Manao is in contrast to the beaches in neighbouring Phetchaburi province, where an official announcement from the provincial governor allows all beaches including the popular Cha-am beach to reopen, but no swimming or watersports. The governor instead allowed food vendors and other service providers, including those who provide horse riding and beach chairs, to resume business.

In Chon Buri, on the east coast of the Gulf, all beaches in the Pattaya area have been open since June 1. But group activities like beach volleyball, jetskiing and banana boat rides are still not allowed. Those who offer beach chairs for rent must follow social distancing rules by placing the seats at least 1 metre apart, otherwise the service will be suspended. A violation could result in up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to 100,000 baht.

In Phuket, residents can still just look, but not go on, their famed beaches. Hotels have been given permission to open again on the island but few are bothering with the costs and expense as there are few people available to fill rooms. Phuket’s airport remains closed although June 15 is being widely tipped, but not confirmed, as the date for re-opening to domestic flights.

Scheduled international flights are still banned until at least the end of June.

In a related development, interprovincial bus operator Nakhonchai Air resumed its services Monday. Travel restrictions under the Emergency Decree had previously banned all trips of more than 300 kilometres.

The company is implementing social distancing rules by allowing passengers to sit only in window seats. Passengers must wear masks all the time and must check in and out before and after boarding the bus by using the Thai Chana app.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Prachuap Khiri Khan's scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

As Thailand’s beaches reopen, crowds flock back

Jack Burton

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As Thailand’s beaches reopen, crowds flock back | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya Unlimited

Yesterday, the Queen’s birthday and a public holiday, saw many of Thailand’s popular beaches heaving with visitors as they reopened for the first time since their closure by the Emergency Decree in March. People across the country took advantage of the easing of inter-provincial travel restrictions that took effect Monday. Chon Buri’s Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri was almost spilling over into the streets.

By the afternoon traffic jams extended more than 2 kilometres on roads leading to the beach, prompting Saen Suk municipality’s mayor to temporarily close them to clear the tailbacks and control visitor numbers. On his Facebook page, he explained the beach was too packed, making it virtually impossible to observe social distancing guidelines. He also posted aerial pictures of the beach showing vehicles blocking the entire stretch of road next to the beach. 3 of the road’s 4 lanes were clogged by parked cars.

Stressing that rules must be enforced, the mayor said that from today vendors and food hawkers can resume their trade along the beach, but the sale of alcohol will still be banned.

• 7 areas on the beach will be free of beach chairs, and where chairs are allowed, there must be plenty of space between them

• visitors are required to wear face masks at all times

• those renting chairs out are required to the body temperature of their customers and provide them with hand sanitiser gel

• non-chair areas are designated so people can enjoy the open spaces on the beach

Bang Saen beach, which attracts a lot of weekenders because it’s the nearest beach to Bangkok, will be closed on Mondays for cleaning. The municipal office says beach chairs may only be used on the beach on weekends.

Under the “new normal” regulations, visitors to all beaches must wear masks at all times while on the beach and leave by 11pm. It’s reported that at the busiest time yesterday, at least 5,000 visitors were at Bang Saen beach, and most had driven there. The mayor says authorities will block traffic on roads leading to it when necessary to control the numbers. The number of beachgoers sparked fears of a possible resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

A member Bang Saen beach’s Bang Saen White Sharks lifeguard team said the crowds left officials and resources overstretched trying to enforce the “new normal”.

• beaches in Hua Hin also churned back to life as seaside vendors and restaurants once again welcomed customers, many of them locals.

• in the eastern province of Trat, ferries were back in business moving tourists between the mainland and islands including the popular Koh Chang.

• Koh Samet in Rayong, just east of Chon Buri, remains closed as it’s located in a national park, although local tourism associations have appealed to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to reopen it.

• Phuket’s beaches also remain closed

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

As Thailand's beaches reopen, crowds flock back | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

With all patients recovered, Phuket closes its Covid-19 field hospital

Jack Burton

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With all patients recovered, Phuket closes its Covid-19 field hospital | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Phuket News

So long, farewell. Phuket, which has had the highest number of Covid-19 infections per capita in Thailand, is closing its first “field hospital” after discharging its final patients. The temporary hospital is closing down, hopefully for good, and will be “put on standby,” as the last patients have recovered, the island’s governor announced yesterday.

The building was actually the unfinished new provincial HQ for the local Phuket government. The building’s completion has been stalled for years with uncompleted contracts and delays. But it has served an important purpose in housing the island’s Covid-19 patients and keeping them away from the main hospitals.

“Today is the day that Phuket has zero Covid-19 patients. I would like to thank all officials and Phuket residents for their efforts and cooperation to make our province finally Covid-19-free. Our next job is to rehabilitate the province’s economy, especially the tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the outbreak.”

The governor was joined at the closing ceremony by representatives from the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket Office, the Phuket Chamber of Commerce and the Phuket Federation of Industries to hand out 600 survival kits to local people affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Phuket’s first field hospital was established in March with 104 beds in a two-storey building. It was staffed with medical professionals from 5 hospitals throughout the province. Some 123 Covid-19 patients were treated at the hospital and all have fully recovered and been discharged. None has tested positive again.

The second field hospital is also on standby, having released its last patient on May 15.

Since the outbreak started, Phuket has reported 227 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Of these, 224 patients recovered and 3 died.

With all patients recovered, Phuket closes its Covid-19 field hospital | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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