“The office of the Australian Consulate-General in Phuket is closed to the public temporarily. Consulate-General staff are still providing consular assistance remotely at this time. We apologise for the inconvenience,” the consulate has posted on its website. (See here.)
People in Phuket and the surrounding provinces with urgent enquiries are urged to contact the Puhket consulate staff by email email@example.com
The Phuket News was assured earlier today (Mar 22) that emails are being read, and replied to, quickly.
However, passport and notarial services requests should be directed to the Australian Embassy in Bangkok. For urgent consular assistance, please contact +61 2 6261 3305, the consulate advises.
The Australian embassy in Bangkok has echoed the Australian government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We now advise Australians to not travel overseas at this time due to the risks to their health and the high likelihood of major travel disruptions.
“We have issued this advice for two principal reasons:
You may be more exposed to contracting COVID-19 overseas. You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. Health care systems in some countries will come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as Australia’s. You may not have your normal support networks overseas.
“Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries. Think about what this might mean for your health, and your family, work or study responsibilities.
“If you’re overseas and can’t or don’t want to return to Australia, follow the advice of local authorities. Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus.
“Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance company to discuss your travel plans and options for cancelling or postponing current bookings. Or to arrange flights back to Australia.
“For urgent consular assistance contact +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 from within Australia. For non-urgent queries contact firstname.lastname@example.org”
Cruise passenger mass transfer at sea
Following the announcements made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Australian Government last Sunday (Mar 15), a total of 239 passengers were transferred between the two cruise ships Columbus and Vasco da Gama, both operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages Australia (CMV Cruises), 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket on Wednesday (Mar 18) so that passengers can safely return to home ports.
In the transfer operation at sea, Australasian passengers were transferred to the Vasco da Gama, now bound for Fremantle, and European guests to the Columbus, now en route to Tilbury, outside London in the UK.
The switch also included over 500 pieces of luggage and numerous stores provisions between the two ships, all carried out by tender boats between 6.30am and midday. (See report here.)
Christian Verhounig, CEO of Cruise & Maritime Voyages said, “We are tremendously proud of our onboard and shoreside teams for their fantastic job in delivering this safe and effective evacuation and relief operation. On behalf of the directors, staff and especially our hard-working crew, CMV would like to thank all our current passengers for their support, patience and understanding during this repatriation operation.”