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Tourist complaints spark zoo check

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura inspected the Phuket Zoo on Friday after receiving written complaints from about 10 tourists about the maltreatment of animals and the quality of water in pools there.

The Thailand Zoological Park Organization (TZPO), the Tourism Authority of Thailand and a number of NGOs have also received similar complaints about the private zoo, which opened in 1997.

The Governor received the complaints via the Damrongtham Center, which acts as the provincial ombudsman.

Phuket Zoo, located on 30 rai of land in Palai Green, is home to an aquarium, crocodiles, ostriches, seven elephants, four tigers, six monkeys and a number of other animals.

Gov Udomsak toured the zoo with the owner, Preecha Tantaweewong, and asked him about the water and the use of chains to restrain elephants, tigers and monkeys.

K. Preecha told the Gazette afterward, “The Zoo specializes in animal shows, which makes it more interesting than an ordinary zoo. We have no intention of abusing or torturing animals. We try hard to take good care of all the animals in the zoo. For example, we have a tiger that we raised from when it was a cub; the public can come to take photos of the tiger and the money we earn from the photo-taking is put towards the zoo’s upkeep.

“I care about all our animals, but, as I explained to the Governor, if we didn’t chain the monkeys, for example, they would do whatever they pleased, whenever and wherever. We do not put them in cages.

“This zoo is not a safari-type open zoo that people can drive through in a car. We cannot release the animals and allow them to roam around because they could disturb, and possibly frighten or injure tourists who are walking around,” K. Preecha said.

“As for the water, it is from a well and because the soil around the source is black, and the water is brackish, the color and smell of the water make it appear dirty. If I am able to finance it, I will treat the water in the future, to improve the overall quality of the zoo and encourage tourists to visit.

“Who wants to buy a ticket to visit a place that’s dirty?

“I am going to attend a meeting of the TZPO in Bangkok on November 14. I hope to return to Phuket with ideas to improve the zoo and make it a more a popular tourist attraction,” he said.

 

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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… โ€œWe 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,โ€

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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