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Phuket lifeguards save 333 swimmers after return to beaches

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket lifeguards save 333 swimmers after return to beaches | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Officially back on the beaches May 28, after another contract signing saga, Phuket lifeguards saved 333 people in the following 31 days, according to an announcement made by Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President Paiboon Upatising yesterday.

“Despite the work of the lifeguards, four people have drowned this year. They drowned because they either ignored the red warning flags or went swimming at night,” President Paiboon said.

“I’d like to ask all people and organizations connected with tourism to warn tourists of the potential dangers [on the coastline]. I’d also like for local government officials and beach vendors to coordinate better with lifeguards when it comes to warning tourists.

“In some countries lifeguards have the right to arrest people who ignore their warnings, but in Thailand they can’t,” President Paiboon added.

Under the conditions of the new contract Phuket Lifeguard Service Co Ltd is able to employ 106 staff, both lifeguards and management, at 33 stations on 13 beaches throughout the island.

The lifeguard stations are divided among the three Phuket districts, with 12 covering the southern end of the island in Muang; eight in Kathu covering central Phuket and 13 serving Thalang in the north.

“We have three lifeguards in each station working from 9am to 7pm watching for swimmers in trouble,” said Phuket Lifeguard Service Co Ltd manager Wirote Sawaengphol.

This year, lifeguards have increased the number of red flags being used three-fold.

Red flags, meaning “No Swimming”, are placed to inform potential victims that dangerous currents, submerged rocks and other threats lurk offshore. A yellow flag indicates the area is not supervised by lifeguards, but one may swim with caution. Flags which are yellow and red planted in the sand tell swimmers that lifeguards are on duty and observing the area between the yellow-red flags.

“In both monsoon season and high season, we can’t guarantee swimmers’ safety. There are so many variables, such as jellyfish or other poisonous sea animals, even someone’s underlying medical condition can cause them to drown,” explained Mr Wirote.

“Having lifeguards on duty is really the last ditch effort to saving someone’s life. We’re trying to solve the problem at the wrong end. The best way to warn tourists [and prevent drownings] is through the tour agencies and hotels, as they have a closer relationship with the tourists,” he said

Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyut “Nut” Chuayuan told the Gazette on July 17 that they were now working on the new warning signs to be installed on Phuket beaches.

The 80 by 60 centimeter signs will carry warnings in 11 languages: Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Russian, Arabic, Italian and Hindi.

“As soon as we get the wording checked by a native speaker of each language the signs will be ready for use. We intend to place the signs next to the red warning flags,” he said.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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Phuket

Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police investigate reports of women’s underwear stolen from Phuket homes | The Thaiger
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Police in Phuket are looking for a suspect who residents say has been stealing women’s underwear. Surveillance camera footage from a resident’s home shows a teenager driving through a neighbourhood, then stopping and stealing ladies panties that were hanging up to dry.

One resident told Phuket News that numerous residents in Thalang’s Baan Lipon area have reported missing underwear.

“Recently neighbors have been reporting that many items of their underwear have been stolen. Many residents are worried about the man hovering around here trying to steal underwear.”

A man told the Phuket News that his wife’s underwear was stolen and he’s now worried about his family’s safety. Another resident says he’s also concerned.

“As a resident in this area, I am worried about the safety of the local residents. Underwear has been stolen, something else could happen as well.”

In a similar case back in October, a 46 year old man was arrested for allegedly breaking into homes in Ratchaburi and stealing women’s underwear. Police says they seized 70 pairs of panties.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October

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Phuket pushes to open doors to vaccinated international tourists by October | The Thaiger

Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season. The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

Protecting the locals would include achieving herd immunity in time for reopening the province, which would need 70% of the population to be vaccinated. The local government’s goal would not wait for the government to roll out vaccines, and instead, use its own resources to vaccinate the public. Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association told the Thai Enquirer over the phone, that they won’t stop pushing for ways to help the tourist destination survive.

“I think there must be a solution that balances controlling the outbreak and stimulating the economy.”

The island is also looking to waive the 14 day quarantine, with PM Prayut recently changing his stance by announcing that a quarantine waiver is being considered for those vaccinated tourists.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Initial research shows that around 250,000 citizens per month must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Initially, the province’s request was denied by the federal government, but business leaders are not giving up hope. Recently, they submitted a petition to PM Prayut to appeal the denial citing lack of income, mounting debts and increasing financial disputes due to over eight months without international or domestic flights.

The second wave has also plummeted tourism even lower than before, as the industry has seen a 93% drop in visitors since the same time last year.

Phuket has already kicked off its vaccine rollout as of yesterday, after receiving a delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab. Priority is being given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials that have been exposed to Covid-19 patients.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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