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Warning to Phuket Tourists: Don’t swim!

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Warning to Phuket Tourists: Don’t swim! | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: Red flag warnings are in force along Phuket’s west coast beaches, several of which have achieved notoriety in recent years for scores of drownings and near-drownings during the monsoon season (May through October).

Strong West/Southwesterly winds reaching speeds of 50-60kmph with waves rising to 4.5 metres in the waters off Phuket are expected to continue until Thursday.

In neighboring Malaysia, the Meteorology Department yesterday noted that the strong winds and rough sea conditions would pose a danger to all shipping and coastal activities off Phuket, including fishing and ferry services, Bernama reports.

The warning added that the winds and rough seas off Phuket would also prevail in the waters along Malaysia’s west coast – off Perlis, Langkawi, Kedah and Penang – and would as well affect Thailand’s Koh Samui and Malyasia’s Palawan island, until Wednesday.

Phuket’s junior cricketers to play in KL

Bangkok Post
The ACST’s Phuket Junior Cricket Development Fund (PJCDF) has donated 43,000 baht to support Phuket’s Under-15 (U-15) team in its tour and participation in the 4th Kuala Lumpur Cricket Assoc / Royal Selangor Club U-15 ‘Cricket Carnival’. The tournament will be held in Kuala Lumpur from July 30 through August 1.

This is the first donation made by the fund, which was set up earlier this year to support junior cricket development in Phuket with funds donated by participants in the Phuket International Cricket Sixes.

The Phuket U-15 side is made up of young Thai players, many of whom compete in the local Phuket league and played at the Phuket Sixes this year for the first time.

In 2008, the Phuket U-15s made their first venture to this international tournament, winning one match out of three.

Ecotourism to the fore in Phuket

The Nation
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched five ecofriendly pilot projects. The projects are being marketed as ‘green route’ ones and are part of the TAT’s “Seven Greens” concept.

Seven Greens is the brainchild of the TAT and the other stakeholders in the Kingdom’s tourism industry, who are working to try to maintain an equitable balance between tourism promotion and environmental conservation.

The concept provides a cooperative framework for implementation of green initiatives, with the Seven Greens being: ‘Green Heart, ‘Green Logistics’, ‘Green Attraction’, ‘Green Activity’, ‘Green Community’, ‘Green Service’ and ‘Green Plus’.

The five new ‘green route’ projects are: Social and Environmental Responsibility for Eco-friendly Transportation; Service and Site Management; Preserving Local Traditions and Environment through Community-based Tourism; Providing Visitors with Culturally Enriching Experiences; and Encouraging Tourism-related Operators to Give Back to the Communities in which they Operate.

The five projects include Phuket and will take account of local traditions and lifestyle as well as natural resources.

Bomb blast: one dead

Canada.com
A bomb exploded in Bangkok yesterday, wounding at least eight people, as the city voted in a by-election that could signal whether the recent unrest has changed Thailand’s political landscape.

The bomb was hidden in a trash bin at a bus stop in the heart of the commercial district on Ratchadamri Road, an area occupied by thousands of “red shirt” anti-government protesters for several weeks until an army crackdown on May 19.

The by-election for a Bangkok seat in parliament could indicate whether the turmoil that killed at least 89 people in April and May will hurt Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s ruling party in national elections next year.

The BBC reports that the bomb blast killed at least one man and injured ten others who were taken to three hospitals. The 51-year-old man died while hospitalized for his injuries.

PAD charged

The Nation
Leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) plan to report to police next month to face charges of seizing and shutting down Bangkok’s two international airports in late-2008, a spokesman for the group said yesterday.

Panthep Puapongpan said after a meeting with core leaders of the PAD that several of them would report to police to hear the charges.

Some of those charged have said the charges are unfair, so they would refuse to report to the police on the basis that their participation in the rallies leading to the airport closures was an act of civil disobedience, Panthep said, without elaborating.
The PAD also planned to file charges of malfeasance against all police involved in what Panthep called the “unfair charging”.

“We unanimously agreed the charges are false. We were not terrorists. The Airports Authority of Thailand ordered the airports’ closure without the board’s approval. We didn’t close the airports. The rallies were at the terminals while the other parts were still available for services,” Panthep said after the meeting.

— 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 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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Transport

Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui

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Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's version of the Suez Canal blockage.

Footbridges in Phuket stood in the way of a luxury yacht travelling from its home in Phuket to Koh Samui when the boat was too tall to pass. Police received a call around 8 pm last night from the truck driver after his trailer carrying the yacht had trouble getting under one of several bridges for walkers to pass over the highway. The boat was travelling down Thepkrasattri Road, where it was stopped by the bridge near Baan Tha Reua School. The boat also had trouble at the pedestrian bridge at the Provincial Electricity Authority Thalang Branch and the bridge at Baan Lipon School in Srisoonthorn.

All the bridges were supposed to have a 5-metre clearance, though one observer speculated that all the repaving of the road over the years may have raised the road and lowered the clearance. Traffic police responded to the first bridge incident by sending officers to direct traffic and make sure bikes and cars didn’t pass and impeded progress on freeing the boat. The second incident about 30 minutes later was resolved by letting air out of the truck’s tires to lower it just enough to pass under the bridge. The third snag prompted the driver to go in person to the Thalang Police station to request help yet again.

This time police were less amused and suggested the truck driver try to resolve the issue himself and call back to the police only if he was unable to free the luxury yacht. A traffic police officer went to follow up with the stranded boat at the end of his shift and found the driver had given up and decided to return the yacht to its Phuket origin at Boat Lagoon Marina in Koh Kaew. The boat, now damaged from the bridge bumps, wasn’t going to make it to Surat Thani to be sailed to Koh Samui on this journey. The boat radar had broken off on one of the bridges. No word on any major damage to the pedestrian bridges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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