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Phuket Sandbox order revises rules to cancel or modify



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A new updated Phuket Provincial Order revises the international reopening scheme to include the new Sandbox 7+7 program but also slips in a revision to the parameters for cancellation or modification of the Phuket Sandbox. The order issued yesterday mostly revises the rules to include conditions for travelling to other destinations in Thailand after the first 7 days in Phuket.

But amid swelling Covid-19 infections, the order also quietly removes a few requisites for the cancellation or revision of the Sandbox program as some had been surpassed already. The original threshold of 90 infections in one week and infections in 3 districts and 6 subdistricts have all been removed now that the rolling weekly Covid-19 infection numbers have passed 500.

The limit of 80% of hospital beds being occupied has also be removed and reworded into a more vague qualification. In fact, all the criteria for revising or ceasing the Sandbox scheme have been laid out in very open-ended terms, with 3 points to consider.

First, the ability to accommodate infected Sandbox tourists must be considered and will be estimated by bed occupancy rates for medical facilities that accept foreigners. Second, the same ability must be considered for local people, this time accounting for all available hospital beds in Phuket. Finally, the resources for disease control and the epidemiology of Covid-19 must be considered in deciding any actions to take.

The possible actions remain essentially the same, from closing activities and facilities to restricting movement with sealed routes or even sealing off hotels to a more formal quarantine, to closing the Sandbox to any new incoming travellers who hadn’t already received their Certificate of Entry.

The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee will review the data and situation in Phuket every day and consider revisions every week or two.

And for rule-breakers within the Sandbox plan, the violation warnings were restated, along with an additional threat of deportation and possible banning from Thailand for those who attempt to leave Phuket early or don’t comply with medical treatments.

Thai nationals would face criminal charges under the Communicable Disease Act, and any tour operators or transportation providers could have their licenses and operating permits revoked for participating in violations.

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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