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“Sandbox” tourism scheme for foreign travellers in the works for Phuket

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“Sandbox” tourism scheme for foreign travellers in the works for Phuket | Thaiger
Stock photo by Mike Swigunski for Unsplash

Tourism officials are working on what they’re calling the “sandbox,” a new pilot program to reopen Phuket and other destinations by the Andaman Sea to foreign visitors. The sandbox is like the “travel bubble” idea and would allow quarantine-free travel to certain areas.

The sandbox model will be pitched to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration next Friday, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Rachakitprakarn says. But the scheme depends on how many people are vaccinated against Covid-19.

Prior to today’s announcement that the Thai government is delaying vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab, Phiphat had said he expects the sandbox model to start in Phuket in July, but the majority of people living in the island province need to be vaccinated.

“About 70% of people in Phuket must be vaccinated, which means about 900,000 doses of vaccine are needed for 450,000 people.”

Recently, the government announced that the mandatory quarantine period for travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus will be reduced from 14 days to 7 days. Vaccinated foreign travellers arriving to Phuket will be swab tested and then enter check in to an “Area Local Quarantine” hotel, Phiphat says.

“At this stage, the Ministry of Public Health only allows tourists to remain in their rooms, but we will propose to the CCSA to allow tourists to go out of their rooms from Day 1 of their quarantine.”

A traveller must be tested for Covid-19 a second time before being released from quarantine. Those who have not been vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days. Phiphat says he’s still waiting on an official confirmation on the new quarantine measures.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Change name, call it smoke and mirrors.

  2. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    So vaccinated travelers still get 7 days quarantine and more tests

    Good Luck with that

    Travelers will go to other nice Asian countries
    Good Luck Thailand

  3. Avatar

    Steve

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Its not going to happen!

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    You can already go to Phuket with a 7 day quarantine. Therefore this plan must drop the quarantine or there would be no difference. Beside the fact this is low season so why the rush. The real question is how in the world do they expect to vaccinate 450K people just in Phuket by the end of June? Keeping in mind, they still have to keep vaccinating people in the rest of Thailand too. Another half azzed plan out of the boys in Phuket which wouldn’t create large numbers and has little chance of happening anyway.

  5. Avatar

    Dora

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 4:54 am

    Monkey has to be vaccinated.

  6. Avatar

    Clive G

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    When they talk about testing, is it the PCR test or a lateral flow test? If it is the PCR test, I find it annoying that all countries don’t publish how many times they Multiply the sample that they take. 24 times is the maximum the inventor of the test maintains as being accurate, 35 times would be universally agreed by practically every scientist as a limit in terms of accuracy, yet many countries multiply the sample by a factor of 45, at which rate 9 out of 10 people testing positive do not have enough virus in them to infect anyone else. If I knew a country was multiplying it by the largest amount, I would avoid that country as it would be a lottery whether you tested positive or negative. Three quarantined German boys successfully sued for damages in Portugal. They kept testing positive due to the accuracy of the test, and the judge ruled the latter 97% inaccurate and gave them compensation.

  7. Avatar

    Martin Ågren

    Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Still nothing how this applies to children.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:56 am

    The “inventor of the test” can’t “maintain” anything, Clive G, as he’s dead! 😯

    … and as you keep on being told, Spanish and Portugese courts have never “ruled the test inaccurate”.

    That’s QAnon cr@p. The courts ruled the tests were illegal on which to base quarantine as they weren’t supervised by a registered doctor as Portugese and Spanish law requires.

    That’s all – nothing to do with the accuracy of the tests.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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Transport

Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui

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Footbridges stop luxury yacht travelling from Phuket to Samui | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand's version of the Suez Canal blockage.

Footbridges in Phuket stood in the way of a luxury yacht travelling from its home in Phuket to Koh Samui when the boat was too tall to pass. Police received a call around 8 pm last night from the truck driver after his trailer carrying the yacht had trouble getting under one of several bridges for walkers to pass over the highway. The boat was travelling down Thepkrasattri Road, where it was stopped by the bridge near Baan Tha Reua School. The boat also had trouble at the pedestrian bridge at the Provincial Electricity Authority Thalang Branch and the bridge at Baan Lipon School in Srisoonthorn.

All the bridges were supposed to have a 5-metre clearance, though one observer speculated that all the repaving of the road over the years may have raised the road and lowered the clearance. Traffic police responded to the first bridge incident by sending officers to direct traffic and make sure bikes and cars didn’t pass and impeded progress on freeing the boat. The second incident about 30 minutes later was resolved by letting air out of the truck’s tires to lower it just enough to pass under the bridge. The third snag prompted the driver to go in person to the Thalang Police station to request help yet again.

This time police were less amused and suggested the truck driver try to resolve the issue himself and call back to the police only if he was unable to free the luxury yacht. A traffic police officer went to follow up with the stranded boat at the end of his shift and found the driver had given up and decided to return the yacht to its Phuket origin at Boat Lagoon Marina in Koh Kaew. The boat, now damaged from the bridge bumps, wasn’t going to make it to Surat Thani to be sailed to Koh Samui on this journey. The boat radar had broken off on one of the bridges. No word on any major damage to the pedestrian bridges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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