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Phuket to host Cabinet meeting to review proposals for reviving local economy

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

Government officials are to hold a Cabinet meeting in Phuket on November 2 and 3, when they will meet with local authorities and business owners to hear their suggestions on re-igniting the province’s decimated economy. Phuket has been hit particularly hard by the country’s borders being shut since late March, with the absence of international tourists dealing a hammer blow that some say will be felt for years to come.

The Bangkok Post reports that, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the province would generate over 400 billion baht in tourism revenue each year. Now, data from the Phuket Area Revenue Office shows that, between January and August, year on year tax revenue from the province has plummeted by over 46%.

In preparation for the November meeting with central government officials, Governor Narong Woonsiew has met with local business leaders. Narong says Phuket is currently completely reliant on domestic tourism, with the local economy devastated by the fallout from Covid-19 and the loss of internationals tourists. He says the government understands the difficulties being faced by the province and has chosen to have a Cabinet meeting there for that reason. He adds that he would like Bangkok officials to ask state agencies to hold meetings and conferences in Phuket, as one way of helping the local economy.

“Phuket is grateful that it is the Cabinet’s venue of choice. This gives us hope for economic recovery. We have experienced many economic hardships before, and we are discussing what to propose as immediate and long-term solutions to the Cabinet.”

Phuket is still hoping to welcome its first international tourists in over 6 months, under the new Special Tourist Visa scheme. The programme was officially launched on October 1, however, nobody seems sure when the first lot of foreign visitors availing of the visa are set to arrive. The much-talked about arrival of between 120 and 150 Chinese visitors, which was supposed to take place this month, turned out to be all for nothing, when it was revealed not a single Chinese national applied for the STV.

Nevertheless, Governor Narong says he expects the province to re-open for international tourism from October 25. That’s just over a week away. He adds that he would like PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to test Phuket’s readiness for managing STV arrivals, by undergoing all the procedures the province has put in place. He says the role-play could be filmed and used to increase tourists’ confidence that Phuket is well-equipped to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 on the island.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sam

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:17 am

    .
    Can’t do anything to revive economy with borders closed. It’s a dead
    a island

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Would that include the PM doing 14 days of quarantine? No doubt they will come up with another expensive and incredibly bureaucratic plan that won’t generate much interest. It will be interesting to see what they come up with this time, wonder how long it will take?

  3. Avatar

    Kris

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 9:41 am

    They need stop thinking STV, who the F will come on that horrendous process under STV, if anyone come that number wouldn’t even enough to cover salaries of just 7 elevens staff. Wake up Thailand

  4. Avatar

    harry1

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 10:14 am

    l hope they bring a few trucks of food, to give out to very desperate locals

  5. Avatar

    Richard Joynes

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Turn Phuket into a giant cannabis farm. That should do it.

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:41 am

    If they are really sincere about attracting foreigners back to Phuket, they should stop the rip off two price system.
    For instance Sirinat Nation Park is basically just a beach. Foreigners have to pay B200 to go on it.
    Thais are waved through for free.
    Why was it made a National Park anyway? It was just another money making racket to loot foreigners.
    How many more of these scams exist on Phuket. Come back to amazing Phuket to be ripped off.
    I see no chance of them changing their long established rackets.

  7. Avatar

    PJ

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    Amazing the government thinks a few plane loads of visitors from China will solve Phuket tourism issues.
    Under the Thai cautious attitude to the pandemic, expect years of limited GDP.

  8. Avatar

    James Pate

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:27 am

    It took the severity of Covid 19 to finally give Phuket its comeuppance. My last trip was 10 years ago and I vowed never to go back. They only “welcomed” billionaires with 100 meter yachts. 25 years ago, everyone could afford it. No more. Middle class Thais and foreigners (like me) endured surly service, ripoff taxis and overpricing. For what? You can keep Phuket. I’ll spend my baht in Jomtien where my business is appreciated and I’ll have a much better time. Chok dee, Phuket!

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Bangkok

Stricter Covid-19 rules for Bangkok area construction sites

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Cramped conditions have led tighter Covid-19 safety restrictions for construction housing sites.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has set out instructions to large construction companies and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to implement stricter regulations to curb Covid-19 in worker housing facilities. The decree comes after clusters of outbreaks were found at housing facilities at construction sites in the Wattana and Laksi districts. The CCSA spokesmen cited cramped living conditions and a mix of nationalities and culture as contributing factors that make Covid-19 infection spread easily in worker housing sites.

Construction companies specifically in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan were requested to tighten up safety measures. The decree affects some 400 construction sites within Bangkok and its three neighbouring provinces. The BMA estimates as many as 34,600 foreign migrant workers, generally Burmese and Cambodian, living in these facilities along with about 24,600 Thai employees.

The CCSA says the proximity and living conditions in the staff housing facilities are causing Covid-19 to spread at a much higher rate. While Suan Luang district had an 8.85% infection rate, construction housing in Wattana was found to have a rate of infection of around 14.25%.

Staff housing at construction sites, markets, and factories have often been the site of major Covid-19 clusters and Coronavirus spread. At the height of the second wave of Covid-19 in Thailand at the beginning of the year, the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon had such a large outbreak throughout the Burmese migrant workers there, that the staff dorms and the market were completely sealed off. The entrances and exits were barricaded and locked up, with nobody allowed in and those inside not permitted to leave.

The CCSA hinted that if these new tougher restrictions and safety measures don’t curb new Covid-19 outbreaks and any more Coronavirus spread, a similar lock-in may be implemented in the Bangkok area construction site.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

12 Covid-19 violators busted drinking on Patong Beach

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A group drinking on the beach was arrested for violating Covid-19 restrictions. (via Freepik)

12 violators of Covid-19 restrictions, of Thai and foreign origin, have been arrested and taken into custody by police for gathering and drinking in public on Patong Beach. The Covid-19 measures currently in place in Phuket ban all get-togethers involving alcohol, limiting the number that can drink together to just 2 people. The group were arrested for violating this order and for drinking in public.

According to the police the group had 3 foreign men in it along with 5 Thai women and 3 Thai ladyboys, so for those keen at maths the details of the 12th person were not revealed. The Covid-19 rule violators were arrested Friday night in Patong on the walkway along the beach on Thaweewong Road, the popular beachfront road.

Police noted the specifics of their liquor stash, confirming that the group had 2 bottles and 8 cans of Thai beer, 2 imported beers, 4 wine coolers, 4 soda waters, and 2 bottles of Thai liquor. The stash was confiscated by the police.

The perpetrators were brought to Phuket town to the Phuket City Police Station. There they were met by the Phuket Vice governors and medical personnel from Vachira Phuket Hospital. The medics administered swab sample Covid-19 test to each member of the group of restriction violators.

The Vice Governor reminded people that these restrictions were put in place after more than 20 people tested positive for Covid-19 from a small group of people drinking together. That is why the regulations allow just two people together when alcohol is involved. He stressed that police and government officials have been instructed to crack down on violators to try to quickly curb the spread of Covid-19 for a chance at reopening to international tourism July 1st.

Officials asked the public to work together to attempt to eliminate the spread of Covid-19 in Phuket and instructed anybody who sees violators of the Covid-19 restrictions to contact the police immediately. Sentence and fine details were not yet available for the group of 12.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Sunday Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths

Tim Newton

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For Sunday the public health department have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’.

• Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

• The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

• Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

“If this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone.

 

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