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Minister eases local concerns over Phuket tourism plan

Maya Taylor

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Minister eases local concerns over Phuket tourism plan | Thaiger
PHOTO: Shutterstock

The Minister of Tourism and Sports has rushed to reassure Phuket locals who have voiced concern over a tentative plan (now postponed) to re-open the province to foreign visitors. Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn says there may have been some miscommunication, as he reassured Phuket residents that they would not be forced to accept any tourism plan.

The minister, along with a full ministerial entourage, visited the island over the weekend, on the directions of the Thai PM, to evaluate the mood of local communities on the re-opening of Phuket under the much-publicised “Phuket Model”.

He was speaking as officials met with business owners and tourism representatives in Phuket to discuss the future of tourism on the island. Various plans for re-opening have been put forward in recent weeks and then dropped again. Pipat spoke with business representatives in Patong, inviting them to share their views on foreign tourists being allowed to return under strict conditions, including Covid-19 testing and 14 days’ mandatory quarantine.

He says most people are comfortable with the idea, but a number of people have raised concerns, saying the government should focus on Thai tourists to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19. The country has just recorded its first locally-transmitted case in over 3 months, with a Bangkok DJ testing positive after being imprisoned for drug offences. However, it’s understood the man has no recent history of overseas travel.

A meeting of around 100 was held on Saturday at a Patong Beach Road restaurant involving local luminaries, officials and tourism operators. They voiced their fears for the future of local tourism, especially along the touristy-west coast of Phuket which has been severely affected by the impact of government lockdowns and border bans.

Phuket locals also shared their fears about the virus saying the government should put any foreign tourism plan to a local referendum to ensure it has majority support. They are also calling for a subsidy of 10,000 baht a month for local businesses, a moratorium on debt repayments for between 1 – 3 years, and the option of soft loans for 5 – 7 years.

The meetings also turned into a grab bag of random local causes. Residents also want work carried out on Patong Hospital, as well as a general upgrading of the Phuket’s healthcare system, to ensure it can cope with a resurgence of the virus. Other suggestions put forward were developments in education and city planning, free Wifi, and requests to extend the closing time of entertainment venues to 4am (a campaign that’s been going on for half a decade).

The official delegation from Bangkok also visited Phuket Town, Nai Harn, Chalong and Cherngtalay.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Eddie

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    OK, Thais dont want foreign tourists. Just let them suffer.

    • Avatar

      Robert Elliott

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Suffer? How?

    • Avatar

      Robert Elliott

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Why would they suffer?

      • Avatar

        Rinky Stingpiece

        Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 8:18 pm

        no jobs, no income from businesses, insolvency, poverty, all those kinds of obvious things Robert…

  2. Avatar

    Alex

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Ting Tong!

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    The government should give them economic advice.
    They should send lecturers and teachers to Phuket, and hold classes with lessons such as.
    Getting the best price for your secondhand motor bike.
    The joys and health benefits of walking.
    Growing your own food in window boxes.
    Cat meat can be tasty if prepared the right way.
    Extending the life of your flip flops by resoling.
    Net fishing on the high seas at three in the morning can be fun.
    Start a new life by emigrating to North Korea.
    This will enable them to survive the year to come of no tourists, and no investments

  4. Avatar

    Sami

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Where is our smart ass Steve??? With his smarter resposnes…..

  5. Avatar

    staffan anderstig

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Well i thought they like foreign tourist they always smile.

  6. Avatar

    John Smith

    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t think the tourists were that keen on the plan to start with, but it could be an opening for the most determined returnees to get back to Thailand. It seems to me though they want to have their cake and eat it. No tourists, but well we need help from the Government. I wonder how long it will last.

    • Avatar

      Germany

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:07 am

      There are areas in Thailand (such as Phuket) that live in a brutal housing and hotel bubble. These prices must be lowered, which are sometimes higher than those in Europe, it is crazy, a return to reality will be good for everyone and for the country

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying

Maya Taylor

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Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / National News Bureau of Thailand

The Public Health Ministry is warning the public that partying and letting ones guard down could see daily Covid-19 infections rise to nearly 3,000. Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says evidence shows that the third wave of the virus which is currently spreading across the country is a result of younger people, aged 20 – 29, socialising frequently and with multiple contacts. He says it is more common during this latest outbreak to see entire families contracting the virus as a result.

His warning comes as officials outline the 5 most likely scenarios they envisage following the long Songkran holiday.

Scenario 1
If nightlife and entertainment venues are allowed to remain open, the country could see an average of 9,140 cases a day.

Scenario 2
If entertainment and nightlife is closed in high-risk, “red” provinces only, officials expect an average of 2,996 daily infections.

Scenario 3
If nightlife is closed and private parties are curtailed, average daily new infections could drop to 934.

Scenario 4
Daily new Covid-19 cases could drop to 593 if all entertainment venues are shut, private parties are cancelled, and public gatherings are curtailed.

Scenario 5
Average daily new infections could drop to 391 with the closing of nightlife and entertainment venues, the cancellation of private parties, a reduction in group activities, and a move to working from home.

Officials warn that, in the complete absence of disease prevention measures, with people left to live their lives as normal, the number of new daily infections would exceed 20,000.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meets this afternoon to discuss the implementation of additional Covid-19 restrictions, widely believed to include a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries having to close at 9pm in “red” provinces. 18 provinces have been designated as “red” or maximum control zones, but this number is expected to rise.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca will remain Thailand’s primary vaccine, insists Health Minister

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca will remain Thailand’s primary vaccine, insists Health Minister | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

The Health Minister insists the AstraZeneca vaccine will remain Thailand’s primary Covid-19 jab, despite concerns over rare side-effects. Some countries have suspended its use, while Denmark is the first country in Europe to abandon it completely. However, Anutin Charnvirakul says it’s up to each country to make their own decisions and Thailand is pressing ahead with the jab.

“There are many factors for each country whether to use or not use the vaccine. But we have expertise to closely monitor the vaccine information. We base decisions on scientific knowledge, not news. If something happens, we will let the public know. Please do not worry about it.”

Thailand is ordering vaccines from a limited number of manufacturers, primarily AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac Biotech. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Kingdom is purchasing 71 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and 2 million doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine from Sinovac. The rollout is expected to begin in June, with health officials aiming to inoculate 35 million people (half the population) by the end of the year.

However, the challenge will be gaining the public’s trust, as countries around the world express concerns about the very rare risk of blood clots that appears to be associated with adenovirus vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in Thailand, but the US has just suspended its use following a number of blood clot incidents similar to the AstraZeneca cases.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency insist the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots. In the UK, the vaccine has been widely administered as the country sets its sights on achieving herd immunity, with Anutin pointing out that infections there have dropped considerably.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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