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Phuket Sports: Premier League Boxing Day delights

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Sports: Premier League Boxing Day delights | Thaiger
Spurs hail Bale after hat-trick makes Villa wail
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale is among the most special talents in world football, manager Andre Villas-Boas said after the left winger grabbed a hat-trick in yesterday’s 4-0 mauling of Aston Villa.

Jermain Defoe put Spurs in front in the 58th minute at Villa Park before Bale blew the home team away with goals in the 61st, 73rd and 84th minutes to take his tally to nine in the English Premier League this season.

Asked by reporters if there were any better players in the game than the Welsh international, Villas-Boas replied: “He is up there with the best.

“His finishing is very accurate. He has been prolific in front of goal this season and I think he is enjoying getting into those positions.

“His left foot is wonderful and the power and direction he applies on the ball is wonderful too,” added the Portuguese after victory lifted Spurs to fourth spot, 13 points behind leaders Manchester United.

“I think he is improving every day – he is such a young player,” said Villas-Boas. “He is one of our major assets.

“The team changes so much from one year to another and as he keeps learning he will feel even better and probably his performances will improve.”

Villas-Boas said Defoe’s goal, his 10th in the league this season, was especially significant for Spurs after Villa had been on the receiving end of an 8-0 battering at Chelsea on Sunday.

“It was important to get that goal because we knew emotionally it could … make Villa unstable in some way,” he explained.

Villa manager Paul Lambert said his 16th-placed side were fortunate to go into halftime at 0-0.

“We rode our luck massively in the first half because Spurs were very good,” said Lambert who was confident his squad would recover from their two heavy defeats.

“They will be fine,” he said. “Whether we win, lose or draw … we always try to treat them the same way and try to keep their spirits the same.

“One thing in football is that you can’t dwell on it and you have to bounce back. There is no other way.”

Man Utd win seven-goal thriller while City lose
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Manchester United trailed three times before a last-gasp goal from Javier Hernandez sealed a rip-roaring 4-3 victory over Newcastle United that opened a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League last night.

Manchester City were undone by former winger Adam Johnson as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Sunderland which left the champions second in the table, four points ahead of Chelsea who beat Norwich City 1-0 thanks to a 20-metre strike from Juan Mata.

Tottenham Hotspur moved up to fourth after Gareth Bale grabbed his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-0 rout at Aston Villa who were also thrashed 8-0 at Chelsea on Sunday.

As they have done so many times this season Manchester United fell behind early on but even without the injured Wayne Rooney they offered another dazzling display of firepower.

James Perch delighted the Newcastle fans with a fourth-minute opener at Old Trafford.

Jonny Evans levelled in the 25th minute before the Manchester United defender put through his own net four minutes later as the visitors went back in front in controversial fashion.

Patrice Evra equalised for the home team but Papiss Cisse then gave Newcastle a 3-2 lead. Robin van Persie hit back for Manchester United before Mexico striker Hernandez, in for the injured Rooney, popped up with the last-minute winner.

Manchester United’s 19 league matches this season have yielded a total of 76 goals and their mantra appears to be ‘however many you score, we will score more’.

Had they not steamed back to win a thrilling Boxing Day fixture, arguments over Evans’s own goal would have raged.

Referee Mike Dean initially disallowed it, ruling that Newcastle striker Cisse was offside, but he changed his mind after a lengthy delay during which he consulted his assistant.

“I thought it was a bad decision for the own goal,” said Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson who vented his fury at Dean at halftime.

“Cisse was offside and he also grabbed Evans on the arm. If that’s not interference, what is interference?”, Ferguson told the BBC.

Championship performance
“December is always a big month. We dropped two points at Swansea (on Sunday) but made up for it today. It was a real championship performance.”

Manchester United had to do without Rooney after he was hurt in training.

“Rooney has injured a ligament at the back of his knee and will be out for two or three weeks,” Ferguson said. “We are running out of ammunition.”

Before his part in the controversy Evans had equalised for Manchester United but the defensive frailties that have plagued Ferguson’s team this season meant they needed to play catch-up twice more.

The third goal by Cisse, the 28th conceded by United in the league, raised hopes of Newcastle’s first league win at Old Trafford since 1972.

Van Persie equalised for the home team with his 13th league goal of the season before Hernandez produced his grandstand finish to give United their eighth victory this season in a game where they previously trailed.

Manchester City’s defeat at Sunderland was their second in a row at the Stadium of Light.

“It’s the same story for us at Sunderland every year, we are not going to come here next season,” said manager Roberto Mancini with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

“It’s important that our strikers start scoring more goals, sometimes we take one touch too many.”

With the season at the halfway point Manchester United, who have already racked up 48 goals to compensate for some unusually leaky defending, have 46 points with Manchester City on 39.

Third-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand, are on 35.

In the race for fourth position, Everton briefly nudged ahead on 33 points with a 2-1 win over struggling Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park where home defender Phil Neville made his 500th league appearance.

Tottenham replied in a later kickoff, piling on the Christmas gloom for Villa.

Sixth-placed West Bromwich Albion joined Everton and Tottenham on 33 points with a 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers in a match delayed after the bus carrying the visiting team arrived late.

Jonathan Walters scored twice as Stoke City moved up to eighth with a 3-1 home victory over Liverpool in the late match despite Steven Gerrard scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot after one minute.

Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers dropped back to the bottom of the table with only 10 points, Reading jumping above them on goal difference with a 0-0 draw at home to Swansea City.

Fulham drew 1-1 with Southampton who remain just above the bottom three.

Chelsea followed up their destruction of Villa with a gritty victory at Norwich.

“(Norwich) have won against Manchester United and Arsenal this season. It was tough but I was really pleased with the performance of the players,” said Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez.

“The team are showing character. I am really pleased with the workrate and the style of play.”

Another batch of holiday fixtures takes place this weekend. On Saturday, Manchester United host West Brom and Manchester City travel to Norwich while European champions Chelsea visit Everton on Sunday.

Scandalou

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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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