Phuket hoteliers have come up with a solution for asymptomatic guests who test positive for the Omicron variant but refuse to be transferred to hospital. Kongsak Khoopongsakorn from the Thai Hotels Association says in order to keep Phuket’s re-opening going, tourists who test positive but have no symptoms should be offered isolation facilities at their hotel instead of having to fork out for a hospital bed.
The Bangkok Post reports that hoteliers have reported challenges in persuading guests who test positive without symptoms to go to hospital. As most insurance schemes will not cover hospital treatment for asymptomatic patients, guests are reluctant to be admitted. Besides the cost, guests who aren’t sick don’t want to be made to spend time in hospital. Kongsak says hoteliers cannot force people in this situation and furthermore, some local hospitals don’t have the capacity to accept patients without symptoms.
According to the Bangkok Post report, Phuket is experiencing a surge in cases of the Omicron variant, with 149 new infections reported since January 3. Of those, 21 were in visitors who arrived through the island’s sandbox scheme, while 14 were in tourists who arrived via the Test & Go entry scheme, which has now been suspended indefinitely.
Kongsak says that continuing to transfer hotel guests to hospital against their wishes risks damaging the island’s reputation among foreign tourists. He believes that if hotels can create isolation facilities for Covid-positive guests who are asymptomatic, this could be the solution.
“Hotel isolation is the solution for Phuket to receive tourists without imposing rigid measures, which will hurt the industry even more.”
It’s understood that over 50 hotels have offered more than 500 rooms to be used as isolation accommodation. Hotels with more than 100 rooms will set aside 10% for Covid-positive asymptomatic guests who choose to self-isolate at a hotel rather than in a field hospital. Kongsak says hotels can implement a system to check on guests and ensure they don’t check out early before the mandatory isolation period has ended.
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SOURCE: Bangkok Post