For the first time in months the checkpoint saw long tailbacks as people drove onto the island. Officers at the checkpoint have yet to reveal how many people have come onto the island since the easing the provincial entry restrictions, but have already estimated that the number will spiral up to about 10,000 a day, after seeing just 1,000 a day under the previous restrictions.
In explaining the move to open the island to receiving vaccinated domestic arrivals without COVID tests, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said that the decision was made “as a consensus”.
“This is to relax measures with continuous assessment of the situation according to the process of driving problem solving in all aspects of public health, the economy, tourism and social sectors, by consulting and receiving opinions from all concerned parties, along with the steady progress of the Phuket Sandbox project,” he said.
The move to reopen Phuket to domestic travellers aims to help alleviate the deep financial suffering across the island due to lack of incomes. Even before the months-long “island isolation” was brought into effect, the average monthly per capita in Phuket had long been reported as just B1,930 a month.
To mark World Food Day for the year 2021, provincial officials with support from private organisations on Saturday distributed 7,000 meals provided by global food rescue foundation Scholars of Sustenanceto to people at nine locations throughout the province.
Present to assist and oversee the food distribution were Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabham, Phuket Provincial Chief Administration office (Palad).
Joining him were Phuket City Mayor Saroj Angkanapilas and officers from the Phuket Provincial Administration OrganiSation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) and from the Phuket office of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
In addition to the meals distributed, fruits and snacks were also handed out.
The Scholars of Sustenance have been active in Phuket for months, sourcing donations of food from hotels, retailers and other donors to provide food to people across the island without any income.
Meanwhile, the PPAO over the weekend continued its efforts to deliver food to people in need, with its food security outreach programme handing out food to people in financial distress in Wichit and Rassada.