The move became official after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew issued an order (Phuket Provincial Order No. 5745/2564) late yesterday (Sept 23).
The order followed Governor Narong announcing the easing of restrictions on people entering the province earlier in the day.
Phuket has been under ”isolation” from the mainland since Aug 3, when Governor Narong brought into effect an order allowing onto the island only essential deliveries, emergency workers and people conducting essential business on Phuket, including travelling to Phuket to leave via the airport.
The “island isolation” protocol has been maintained through successive provincial orders issued since then, with domestic tourists finally allowed onto the island since Sept 8.
Speaking at a special meeting called on July 30 to explain the need to isolate Phuket from the mainland, Governor Narong said that the raft of new restrictions imposed on the island was the only way to contain the rising number of local infections on the island. At the time Phuket averaged 35-39 new cases a day, for the past two weeks, even with the “island isolation” protocol in effect, Phuket officials have publicly recognised over 200 new cases a day.
“Therefore, such announcements and orders must be issued to control travel in the country to have only those who really need it. This is how to save Phuket, save Sandbox and save Thailand,” Governor Narong said at the time.
Under the new order, to come into effect on Oct 1, all people coming onto the island ‒ by land, sea or air ‒ must be vaccinated with two doses of Sinovac, Sinopharm or Sputnik V vaccine, or one dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson vaccines at least 14 days before arriving.
Alternatively, arrivals will be allowed onto the island if they have recovered from being infected with COVID-19 no more than six months earlier.
All arrivals must show evidence of testing negative for COVID-19 by by RT-PCR or antigen test with confirmed results from a hospital or laboratory issued not more than seven days prior to arrival.
People who are registered on a house registration document (tabien baan) as living in Phuket may bring their own antigen test kit (ATK) approved by the Thai Food & Drug Administration and use that to be tested at the Phuket Check Point or any seaport checkpoint. Officers will issue a document confirming their test results which can be used to present to officials for no more than seven days.
Children under 5 years old traveling with parents or guardians and persons traveling in a medical emergency vehicle as an emergency patient, lifeguard, rescue worker are exempted from the above requirement to be vaccinated, the order noted.
Children from 6 years old to people under 18 years old who are not eligible for vaccination must show evidence of testing negative for COVID-19 by RT-PCR or antigen test method no more than seven days before arriving. Again, an FDA-approved antigen test kit may be brought to the checkpoint and the young person may be tested there.
For students under 18 years of age who are unable to receive vaccination against COVID-19 and need to travel into and out of Phuket for study purposes, the agency affiliated with the educational institution or provincial educational institution shall issue the same form of identification that has been in use for months. The form can be shown to the staff when traveling into and out of Phuket. The students will also need to present a certificate issued by the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office confirming the student has tested negative by RT-PCR or antigen test method. The certificates will be valid for no more than one month.
Those who have an appointment according to court proceedings prosecutor or investigating officers (defendants, witnesses, accused, released convicts on probation) must have clear evidence that if postponing such appointments will seriously damage the trial process to be able to travel to Phuket. They must test negative for COVID-19 by RT-PCR or antigen test no more than seven days prior to arrival.
Travelers traveling under the tourism pilot project (Sandbox 7+7 Extension) or people traveling outside of Phuket by sea to other pilot provinces as a one-day round trip with boat drivers, guides and crew are allowed to leave and re-enter Phuket as long as the tourists and the crews satisfy the requirements of the passengers being fully vaccinated and the boat drivers, guides and ship crews testing negative in their weekly screening for COVID-19 by ATK (Antigen Test Kit) method.
All people entering Phuket must download and install the Mor Chana app on their phones and enable location sharing at all times.
All arrivals must also register their travel details through the gophuget.com web platform before arriving and be issued a QR code that they are to show to the Communicable Disease Control Officer at the checkpoint before being allowed to enter Phuket.
“Patients who intentionally conceal travel information or report false information to communicable disease control officers, causing obstacles to disease investigation and control, resulting in the spread of pathogens may be considered a violation or failure to comply with the order of the communicable disease control officer which is also an offense under the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558,” the order warned.
The order asked for cooperation from those who travel to Phuket by complying with the D-M-H-T-T-A measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as follows:
D – Distancing = keep distance between each other
M – Mask Wearing = always wear a cloth mask / hygienic mask
H – Hand Washing = wash your hands often
T – Temperature = have your temperature checked
T – Testing = be tested for COVID-19
A – Application = Install and scan the applications Thai Chana and Mor Chana
The order noted that as the order was issued under emergency circumstances that if left too late would cause serious damage to the public or affect the public interest, people may not exercise their right to object under Section 30 paragraph two (1) of the Administrative Procedure Act, B.E. 2539.
“If anyone violates or does not comply with this order may be [committing] an offense under Section 51 of the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding B20,000, or Section 52 of the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558, and subject to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding B100,000, or both,” the order also warned.
People who do not comply with the order also may be punished under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree, B.E. 2548, in accordance with the provisions issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree, B.E. 2548 shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. or a fine not exceeding B40,000, or both, the order concluded.
The order is to remain in effect until further notice.