The news came from Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Aganit Danpitaksat during a live broadcast from the Sandbox Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this morning (Aug 4).
“For the first day of the enforcement of the new measures, we found that our people paid attention to our entry measures and realised the necessity of the disease control measures very well,” Col Aganit said.
“Yesterday, 743 vehicles and 670 people were allowed to enter Phuket, as they were all exemptions [sic, meaning ‘allowed special permission to enter Phuket’],” he said.
“Meanwhile, 190 arrivals were refused by officers at the checkpoint as they were not exemptions [to the requirements] and had no necessary reason to enter the island. They accepted being refused entry and returned to their provinces,” Col Aganit said.
“For our brothers and sisters working in the delivery transport industry, the Phuket Provincial Government and relevant officials recognise the problems you are facing and are discussing measures to help you under these restrictions,” he said.
Among the entry requirements is that even those allowed to enter Phuket under special permission must be vaccinated and must present COVID test results issued within 72 hours of arriving confirming that the arrival is not infected with COVID-19.
To assist those arriving, Phuket officials yesterday posted a list of medical facilities in Phang Nga that provide COVID tests and issue the required documentation. The list included prices and contact details for each medical facility listed (see list in gallery above).
“I would like to say that anyone attempting to come to Phuket at this time, please stay in your home province. For people in Phuket, please stay on the island, as other provinces also have their own entry requirements,” he said.
The 190 refused entry to Phuket by road yesterday is less than half of the almost 400 people attempting to enter Phuket by road on July 20 being refused entry for failing to satisfy the revised entry requirements, which were announced just two days earlier.
Lack of clear information and short notice were identified as the main causes for confusion at that time.
This time, the announcement that all traffic at the checkpoint onto Phuket will be closed to all but essential traffic from Aug 3-16 came last Friday ‒ four days before the new measures were brought into effect.
The new requirements for entering the island were introduced via a provincial order issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last Thursday (July 29). The restrictions will remain in effect until at least Aug 16.
Under the order, the only persons and vehicles to be allowed onto the island during the period are as follows:
1) Medical ambulance emergency patient, lifeguard, rescue
2) Transport drugs, materials, medical supplies, medical chemicals
3) Transport consumer goods, agricultural products, livestock, animal feed
4) Transporting cooking gas fuel
5) Transport for banks, money, financial institution
6) Transport of parcels and publications
7) People who need to travel through international channels Phuket International Airport (must have a ticket of the travel date only)
8) Persons who have been ordered or have a written assignment from the agency to perform duties in the prevention and control of diseases in Phuket
9) People who have been ordered by government agencies to go or perform urgent missions in Phuket
10) Those who have an appointment according to the court proceedings prosecutor or the investigating officer which must have clear documentary evidence that if postponing the said appointment will seriously damage the consideration process or an appointment to register rights and juristic acts only in case of urgent need that cannot be avoided otherwise it will cause damage to the parties or greatly affect the economy.
11) Transport construction materials, machinery and spare parts used for maintenance. Only used in the implementation of projects to solve the flood problem. or projects of the state, state enterprises, other government agencies in solving problems of people’s troubles or in case of urgent need
12) Any other cases that have practical problems that need to be diagnosed and ordered The incident commander at the Phuket checkpoint shall have the authority to consider on a case by case basis.
Even then, the checkpoint onto Phuket will remain closed to all traffic except for emergencies from 11pm to 4am each night.
In order to be allowed into Phuket, all of the above exceptions still must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by having received two doses of the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccine, or one injection of the Sinovac vaccine and one injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or at least one injection of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days before arriving.
Alternatively, arrivals must have been discharged from medical care for recovering from CVOID-19 no more than 90 days before arriving.
Also, in order to be allowed into Phuket, all arrivals must present results of an RT-PCR test or antigen test performed by a medical facility within 72 hours of arriving proving that they are not infected.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub