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Confusion over whether bridges are closed, partly closed, or will close ‘definitely’ on April 1

Confusion over whether bridges are closed, partly closed, or will close ‘definitely’ on April 1

PHUKET: After only this morning laying down the law and denying unauthorised people and vehicles permission to cross the bridges into and out of Phuket, Phuket Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai late today said that some people in “special circumstances” are being allowed through, explained a report by the Phuket office of the Pubic Relations Department which has now been pulled down off the official PR Phuket Facebook page.

COVID-19Coronavirustransport
By The Phuket News

Monday 30 March 2020, 10:16PM


A screenshot of the PR Dept post now removed, causing confusion over whether or not Phuket people are still allowed to return home over the bridges. Screenshot: PR Phuket / Facebook

A screenshot of the PR Dept post now removed, causing confusion over whether or not Phuket people are still allowed to return home over the bridges. Screenshot: PR Phuket / Facebook

The bridges were closed to all unauthorised traffic at midnight last night by order of the Phuket Governor.

Under the order no vehicles are to be permitted across the bridges except rescue services and ambulances and those engaged in delivering the following:

  • gas and petrol
  • construction materials
  • medical equipment and supplies
  • parcel and mail delivery
  • all forms of printed media

“All drivers must follow officials instructions or face legal action for breach of the Emergency Decree Act, Governor Phakaphong warned in the order. (See story here.)

Vice Governor Supoj Rotreuang Na Nongkhai this morning appealed for the public to not attempt to leave the island or try to enter Phuket by bridge following people being turned away in droves since the bridges were closed.

He said that a lack of understanding among the public about the closure of the bridges – especially the fact that some vehicles, and people, were still allowed to pass – was the root of the problem.

“Some people, including officials, understand that this announcement does not cover to everyone, so I repeat again that the only people allowed across the bridges are those exceptions listed in the announcement.

“Even then, those people must pass strict screening procedures,” V/Gov Supoj said.

“We are asking all drivers [not on the list of exceptions] to not come to the bridges. New COVID-19 cases are being confirmed in Phuket each day. We must control the spread and ensure the safety of the Phuket people as best we can,” he added.

Asked about people in vehicles turning up at the Phuket Check Point wantin to enter or exit Phuket, Vice Governor Supoj assured, “We tell them to go back. We can’t let them in. We have already announced officially to shut down the bridges.

“That includes anyone who lives or works in Phang Nga province. They are under the same conditions,” he said.

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This evening, a post by on the official PR Phuket Facebook page reported that Vice Governor Supoj said that some extra exceptions needed to be allowed, namely Phuket people wanting to come home, and others wanting to leave Phuket to go home.

Special permission will be granted case by case, he said.

“Such consideration is needed to to allow entry at this stage, such as Phuket people coming home, but they must present their identification to officers to clearly confirm identity and their place of residence,” Vice Governor Supoj said.

“People travelling in groups of four to five will not be allowed to pass, and any people from other provinces coming back into Phuket because they work here must present evidence from their employer to prove that they do actually work in Phuket,” he added.

As for people who live in Baan Tha Chatchai, the northernmost village in Phuket beside the bridges, and anyone else who lived in Phang Nga but worked in Phuket, including officials, Vice Governor Supoj was very clear.

“This is not a condition for being allowed across the bridges, and the provincial government will issue a letter to all government agencies prohibiting travel outside Phuket. Officers in Phuket must perform their duties from within Phuket only,” he said.

Although the PR Phuket report posted earlier this evening was corroborated by national TV news reports throughout the day and even repeated by other government agencies, the post has since been removed. (Click here.)

Of note, unlike any of the official reports for weeks now, the now-removed report did not include the repeated warning of the penalties for posting fake news.

The Phuket News is waiting for a hopefully more definitive report from the government as to whether the bridges are now closed to all regular traffic, partly closed, or will be derfinitely closed come April 1.

 

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Kurt | 31 March 2020 - 08:59:40

Always the same, first coming up with half-half measures/restrictions, and than a follow up of nonsense confusing exemptions that not make sense. At the end, all meetings, orders, regulations hold no logic substance, get fluid like water.

CaptainJack69 | 31 March 2020 - 01:54:31

And as for letting people cross because they're 'residents' or even better because they 'work here' is just stupid. These people should have stayed in place for more than a week already. Don't head the warnings and you suffer the consequences (a valuable lessons that most Thais would benefit from learning anyway).

CaptainJack69 | 31 March 2020 - 01:48:25

Why are construction materials being let though? That is definitely not an essential service. Likewise printed media? Everyone gets their information from digital media nowadays. Where's the logic? Should be nothing in except food and fuel. Simple.

 

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