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New Phuket checkpoint rules see 392 people denied yesterday

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PHOTO: 392 people were turned away yesterday at the Phuket checkpoint. ( via National News Bureau of Thailand)

New restrictions for entering Phuket announced Sunday went into effect yesterday, causing a rash of nearly 400 people to be turned away at the entrance checkpoint. While previous rules allowed unvaccinated people meeting certain criteria to enter, now everyone who enters Phuket needs to be fully vaccinated in addition to testing negative for Covid-19.

This new strict requirement applies to anyone travelling through the overland checkpoint from any province in Thailand to Phuket. Everyone must have paperwork for an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test with negative results taken within the last 7 days. Everyone must also be fully vaccinated. Travellers must have received vaccines at least 2 weeks prior and have either 2 doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm, or 1 dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson.

Officials issued a strongly-worded warning that anyone caught trying to enter Phuket using false documents at the checkpoint would be “decisively” prosecuted. The only exception to vaccination is a person who has already fully recovered from a Covid-19 infection within the last 90 days, which provides some of the same protections a vaccine does.

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pornsak Nuannoo held a press conference this morning to warn people to make sure they are properly prepared, meet the requirements, and have the correct documentation after 392 people were turned away at the checkpoint into Phuket yesterday, the first day of the new rule.

“We encourage people to advise any relatives or co-workers wishing to visit Phuket to prepare all the relevant documents required under the new provincial order in order to avoid any confusion or disappointment.”

Another new policy that went into effect yesterday – the checkpoint into Phuket closed between 11 pm and 4 am. That rule seems to have caught at least a few people by surprise. As workers arrive to open the checkpoint this morning they encountered cars parked around the entry point with drivers waiting for the early morning reopening.

People who work or live in Phuket face similar restrictions, but, with the proper documentation, will be allowed to pass through the checkpoint with either vaccination or a negative test, without being required to have both. A local government official needs to sign off on that exception using a special form.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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