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Tourists to be routed to Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Tourists to be routed to Phuket | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Government sectors have teamed up to create the National Tourist Assistance Center (NTAC) to help tourists during the current mass rally against the government in Bangkok. Conducted by the red-shirted United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), the ‘rally’ is expected to turn into heated protests, possibly with violence, this weekend.

According to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the NTAC will operate until March 23, when the rally is scheduled to end. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) spokesperson Sansern Ngaorungsi says the center is printing 200,000 leaflets recommending travel routes and attractions for tourists in the Kingdom during the rally period. The recommendatons are likely to include Phuket, since the island province is a calm zone in terms of national politics.

The leaflets are being distributed to hotels nationwide and will also be handed out at major airport and border immigration points.

Thai students in visa trouble in USA

The Nation
A Thai government house committee yesterday urged the Foreign Affairs Ministry to blacklist controversial overseas language schools. More than 50 Thais have been arrested in the United States after they enrolled in a California language institute. Their offences include overstaying a visa, not sitting in class long enough per week, or working during their course, a violation of the terms of their visas.

It is reported that some 200 Thai students at this institute are now living illegally in the US. They have gone into hiding to avoid arrest.

The Thai government committee says students should carefully check their visa type and its conditions, as well as the practices of any language school to avoid running into trouble.

Thai bonds to benefit from protests

Business Week
Thai government bonds, the second-best performers in Asia this year, will see further gains as investors seek safety in fixed-income assets amid the mass protests against the nation’s current government, says ING Groep NV.

“Elevated political risk makes Thailand an attractive bond market,” according to Singapore-based Tim Condon, ING’s chief ecoonomist for Asia. Bonds denominated in Thai baht have gained 2.1 percent this year. An escalation in political tensions may prompt the Bank of Thailand to refrain from increasing borrowing costs and adopt other policies favorable to investors, such as the one-day bond repurchase rate being unchanged at 1.25 percent for a seventh straight meeting, the lowest level since July 2004.

Northern Thailand shrouded in smog

The Nation
The Public Health Ministry of Thailand found that nearly 100,000 people had fallen ill from the smog shrouding eight provinces in the North and warned that more would be affected if the situation persists. The ministry has already sent hundreds of thousands of face masks to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Phayao, Nan, Phrae, and Mae Hong Son.
The number of patients at 19 hospitals in the eight provinces has risen sharply since January, and in the past week alone 96,040 people have showed up for treatment. If the current smog situation continues or worsens, more people will need to seek treatment, so the ministry has instructed hospital medical staff to start making preparations.

Jetstar sale

TODAY Online
Jetstar is having a network-wide sale in which all-inclusive, one-way tickets to many destinations, including Phuket, Bangkok, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Ho Chi Minh City, can be bought at deep discounts. Travellers can also get discounted fares to destinations beyond the region – to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii.

The discounts apply to the ‘Jetsaver Light’ category, meaning that the luggage weight limit is 10kg.

The sale, offering 500,000 seats, runs until Monday, March 15, with the travel period open from April to November. For terms and conditions and to book, visit www.jetstar.com

— 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s list of current ‘Covid’ restrictions have been extended until at least May 31. All the current levels of restrictions will remain until the end of the month after the Phuket Governor announced the continuation of restrictions this afternoon.

Daily new infection numbers continue to add to the island’s total of 556 since the start of April. The island’s latest wave started after a series of events, mostly Bangkok partygoers flying down for parties at Café Del Mar in Kamala, Illusion and Shelter, both in Bangla Road. The parties were organised by a Thong Lor based events company called Kolour. The daily numbers, whilst relatively stable, have not been going down as officials were hoping.

The announcement also puts any hope of a July 1 ‘quarantine free’ tourism opening in severe doubt. The island’s vaccine roll out has also slowed since the initial flurry of enthusiasm. Only 22% of Phuket’s population has currently been vaccinated (a long way ahead of the rest of the country) whilst the minimum vaccination level has to reach 70% according to the Government before they will entertain the ‘Sandbox’ opening proposal.

Entry to the island, by road or air, will remain restricted and anyone without proof of vaccination or a current PCR Covid test (within 72 hours) will have to do a full 14 day quarantine period (after May 15). The rapid Covid tests that were being conducted at the airport and Tha Chatchai Checkpoint are being stopped from this Saturday.

Notably, following the story of foreigners in Cherngtalay being fined 6,000 baht each for hosting a party at their home on Sunday night, the ban on gatherings and parties will continue.

Meanwhile, the island has reported its first death during the third wave of cases since the start of April, and a new cluster of infections in the Phoon Pon district in Phuket Town. The man that died was a 71 year old man who died yesterday morning.

Phuket restrictions and bans to stay in place until end of May | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 infections cast doubt on plan to reopen Phuket July 1

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Phuket may not be ready to welcome back visitors July 1st.

With surging Covid-19 infections, the original plan for Phuket to reopen the international border to tourism on July 1st without quarantine may be unlikely. The governor warned today that the plan may be in jeopardy if they don’t reach the proposed May 15 goal of reducing infections to less than 10 each day. Governor Narong Woonciew called on everyone to work together to keep the infections down as the current rate of 10 to 15 per day will almost definitely delay the sandbox plan for international visitors to arrive in Phuket without quarantine in July.

Daily infections are on the rise in Phuket and high-risk people in local quarantine are still spreading infections, according to the provincial health officer’s assessment of the Covid-19 situation. During proactive screening an active case finding, new clusters of infections continue to be uncovered, a problem that has been attributed to continued partying and social gatherings that violate current Covid-19 restrictions. The health officials warned that, as a result, more aggressive actions may be necessary to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Phuket if it is to reopen in July.

Under the current restrictions of the Covid-19 emergency decree, even two people that aren’t from the same household joining together for socializing or mingling could be considered a gathering and punishable with legal action. Officials are speaking out about the threat of more Covid-19 outbreaks due to large gatherings, citing several events that were broken up recently.

One such group in Phuket garnered a lot of attention online with many people surprised that it was considered a gathering and busted up. A group of six British and Thai people that the police raided yesterday at a home in Thalang were reportedly drinking and celebrating. This is a violation of the disease decree and local Covid-19 safety measures, and 2 British nationals were charged a 6000 baht fine each.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Patong

30 year old Thai woman found dead in car in Patong from apparent suicide

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Photo via The Phuket News

The Thaiger acknowledges that the names of the family and the contents of a suicide note were published in error in an earlier version of this story. We have spoken to the writer and can assure readers that this will never happen again. We apologise for the distress caused.

A 30 year old Thai woman has been found dead in her car, in Patong, from an apparent suicide. The woman’s car was parked by the side of the Sirirat Road, which links Patong and Karon. Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the body of ‘Kanokwan’ (surname withheld), slumped in the driver’s seat of a Phuket-registered Honda Jazz.

Police say they found an electric pan with burnt charcoal behind the driver’s seat in the back. They say this was the cause of death as she likely died from asphyxiation. They also say they found a suicide letter.

The woman’s mother ‘Boonlap’ says that she has accepted her daughter’s death was from a probably suicide. Her body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination before being released to her relatives for a funeral.

It is not known whether the Covid pandemic had any effect on Kanokwan but job losses, bankruptcies, sickness and fear are just a few of the side-affects during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many in Thailand and all over the world, this has a profound impact on the mental health of everyday people. The suicide rate in Thailand has also seen a spike, with 22% more suicides recorded in the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. A sharp increase not witnessed since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Even before the pandemic struck, Thailand was on record as having the most suicides of any country in SE Asia. As per WHO data, in 2019 Thailand’s suicide rate was 14.4 per 100k population, compared to a global average of 10.5 per 100k population.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand at their 24-hour hotline 02-713-6791 (English), 02713-6793 (Thai) or Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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