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Phuket hit by coral bleaching

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket hit by coral bleaching | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Marine scientists have been closely watching massive coral bleaching in the Andaman Sea around Phuket, believed to be the worst case in Thai waters for 20 years.

According to the Bangkok Post, coral reefs off Phuket, Krabi and Phang-nga, including popular scuba diving sites such as the Similan, Surin and Phi Phi islands, have been damaged by the phenomenon.

The bleaching could get worse if sea temperatures continue to rise, says Niphon Phongsuwan, a marine biologist at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC).

Temperatures in the Andaman Sea have stood as high as 31-32C for a long period this year.

Coral reefs in shallow waters at depths of up to 10m will take three to four years to recover. Coral at greater depths will take more time.

Emerging tourism challenge for Phuket

New Straits Times
The mystical Malaysian island of Pulau Besar will have a MYR20 million (THB 200,000,000) facelift which will turn it into a “major tourist destination,” putting it in direct competition with Phuket.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the project includes landscaping, establishment of a museum, upgrading of basic infrastructure and the purchase of a new fleet of vans to transport tourists around the famed island.

Ali said “Pulau Besar has the potential to be the next tourism attraction in the state.”

From the MYR20 million, Ali said 10 million would be for the refurbishment of a hotel, and that 6 million would be spent on upgrading of some chalets and landscaping.
Ali said the state was hoping to attract 200,000 visitors to the island next year.

Award winners for Phuket Film Festival

E travel blackboard
The Phuket Film Festival, which runs June 4–13, is finalizing its film line-up.

According to the organizers, an eclectic menu of award winning films from around the globe will be screened – everything from a musical comedy from Australia to a controversial documentary from Cambodia and Internationally acclaimed Indian films.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 5 & 6, two benefit screenings will take place: the movie “Soi Dogs” benefitting the Phuket Soi Dog Foundation, and the UNDP produced “Anatomy of a Recovery”, benefiting the Chumchonthai Foundation.

The Festival’s Gala Opening and Awards will be held on Sunday, June 5th, at the Royal Phuket Marina.

The Phuket Gazette is the media sponsor for this event.

Tickets go on sale May 16 at the Coliseum Cineplex in Phuket Town.

Film celebrity in Phuket

PR.com
Thai cinema’s top leading man Ananda Everingham enjoyed some well deserved R&R recently at Mom Tri’s Boathouse in Phuket.

Ananda enthuses, “I’ve been coming to the Boathouse for over 15 years and it feels like home to me…. Many of the staff have known me for a long time as I used to come together with my dad [Phuket Magazine founder John Everingham] while growing up.”

He says he is about to start filming a new project in the south of Thailand in a few days.

Violence in Bangkok

CNN
Two Thai police officers were killed and eight people injured in overnight violence that lasted into early yesterday morning in areas where anti-government protesters are camped out.

The first attack – a drive-by shooting in Bangkok’s business district – killed two police officers.

Later, early yesterday, several grenades were launched toward police and army troops guarding an area where protesters were camping in the capital. That attack injured eight.

Leaders of the anti-government protesters announced Tuesday that they had reached a deal with the government but said they would not end their demonstrations until the prime minister announces when he will dissolve parliament.

Red shirts divided

Christian Science Monitor
While Red Shirt leaders in Bangkok have agreed to a road map to reconciliation with the Thai premier, the protesters from the farms of northeast Thailand, a hotbed of antigovernment demonstrations, show no signs of backing down.

Although the Red Shirts have not officially agreed to end their marathon protest, one leader said they would leave tomorrow.

But in the northeast, a convoy of hundreds of pick-up trucks was due to leave Friday, part of a fresh influx from the rural heartland.

The mobilization may reflect divisions in the leadership. Ittichai Sriwongchai, a red-shirt organizer, says a decision was taken on Wednesday to ratchet up the pressure, declaring, “We need a knockout punch [to Prime Minister Abhisit].”

— 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.

Phuket

ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in Phuket are close to a “critical” low

Tanutam Thawan

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Covid-19 patients in severe condition may have to been transferred from a government hospital in Phuket to a private hospital as the number of available hospital beds at public intensive care units in Phuket is close to a “critical” low, according to Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Chalermpong Sukontapol.

There are 9 ICU rooms at the Vachira Phuket Hospital. 5 are being used for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms while the other 4 rooms are for those with mild symptoms and are under observation before being moved to another bed.

“If the 9 rooms are full of severe symptom cases, that will be a big critical stage. We may need to transfer our patients to other provinces or private hospitals, which may involve additional costs.”

He says 50% of the Covid-19 patients in Phuket are asymptomatic while 30% have mild symptoms and 10% have severe symptoms. For most of those with severe symptoms, the virus has moved to their lungs and they are in need of special equipment, like ventilators, to help them breathe and Charlempong says those patients need to be under close observation.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Tanutam Thawan

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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