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Government dismisses rumours of Phuket sandbox collapse as “fake news”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: YogeShuchi/Pixahive

The government says the Phuket sandbox scheme is going “very well”, describing rumours of its imminent demise as, “fake news”. According to a Bangkok Post report, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchan from the Centre for Economic Situation Administration says the only thing threatening the sandbox scheme is false reporting on social media that claims the island has been ordered to close due to Covid-19 being out of control.

Thanakorn has hit back at the claims, saying the sandbox scheme is alive and well and vaccinated foreign tourists continue to arrive. He has called on people to stop sharing false information which could create panic, adding that strict health measures are in place to prevent the virus spreading on the island.

Phuket officials have also spoken out against claims that the sandbox is on the verge of collapse. Kusak Kukiatikoon from the provincial health office and deputy governor Piyapong Chuwong have also condemned the rumours, with Piyapong insisting the program is going well.

“The Phuket Sanbox is still going strong, judging from the number of flights per day, daily arrivals of about 600, and booked room nights at more than 100,000. Although some tourists were found to have Covid-19, this was not unexpected. We have prepared measures to prevent new clusters occurring.”

(The Thaiger can confirm the average number of international arrivals each day is 398 for the first 13 days, but not all of the arriving passengers are ‘tourists’.)

Kusak says of 58 Covid-19 infections reported on the island this month, just 6 were from sandbox tourists.

“They are a man from the United Arab Emirates, 3 Burmese women, a South African man, and a Swiss man.”

(An additional positive case was reported yesterday, bringing the total to 7.)

“The infections found among Phuket Sandbox arrivals will not cause the program to collapse. In this situation, the chance of seeing zero infections is very slim. We have 23 medical teams to investigate once there is an infection. Those considered high-risk are quickly quarantined. Our vaccination program has covered over 70% of the Phuket population. All disease control measures are being fully enforced.”

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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