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Phuket reports higher infection rate in second Covid tests for Test & Go travellers

Tara Abhasakun

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Photo via Phuket International Airport - HKT (December 2021)

With two RT-PCR tests now required for Test & Go travellers, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations, Phuket, is reporting a higher infection rate for the second test. Following the emergence of the Omicron variant in Thailand, with many travellers testing positive for the mutated strain, the Thai government decided to require two RT-PCR tests instead of the initial one test on arrival.

Phuket’s chief health officer, Dr Koosak Kookiatkul, says 2% of international tourists tested positive on their first test, but 4% to 5% tested positive on a repeat test, mostly with the Omicron variant.

Registration for the Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme was reopened this week, but under revised regulations set by Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, travellers must book stays at approved hotels on Day 1 and Day 5 while they undergo RT-PCR tests and wait for their results to come back.

According to the Bangkok Post, Phuket also issued a provincial order requiring Test & Go travellers to undergo another RT-PCR test on the fifth day of their stay, in line with the nationwide measures set by the CCSA.

The provincial health chief says that out of Phuket’s daily average of 300 positive tests, about 100 have been international tourists. Yesterday, the Bangkok Post reported that most people testing positive are coming from Russia and Kazakhstan, mainly Russia. On Tuesday, there were 493 new infections recorded. 387 were local cases, two were in the Test & Go scheme, and 104 were in the Phuket Sandbox programme.

Covid-19 has hit Phuket’s economy hard, as it’s been a tourist island for many years. Last week, the governor of Phuket told The Phuket News 95% of Phuket’s income comes from tourism. He said during the pandemic, the average monthly income there fell to about 1,900 baht per person.

Source: Bangkok Post | Bangkok Post | The Phuket News

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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