Tritsanu Uthaipan, Assistant Manager at the Kalima Resort, explained to The Phuket News that the couple* had left the hotel without informing hotel staff in order to have a second swab test for COVID-19.
“They left the hotel on their own at around 11 am and returned around 4pm,” Mr Tritsanu said.
“They have not fled at all, as has been reported in the news,” he confirmed.
The couple had entered Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, Mr Tritsanu explained.
“After receiving the results from their swab test at the airport, the hotel contacted hospitals and test centres for tourists so they could have a second test to be sure of the results,” he said.
“But every hospital and test centre said they were full, and unable to conduct the tests for the tourists,” he added.
The couple themselves finally managed to organise the Paweena Clinic in Patong to take swab samples and perform a second RT-PCR test, Mr Truitsanu explained.
“We are waiting on the results of that test now,” he said.
The couple are now staying in their room at the hotel, awaiting confirmation of the test results and further instructions from officials.
The inaccurate news reports of the French tourists allegedly fleeing their hotel in Phuket spread quickly online overnight after Israeli tourist Ohad Baruch, 29, made national headlines last week for fleeing his hotel in Bangkok to visit Pattaya and then Koh Samui before he could receive a positive test result for the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
He was finally arrested and fined B2,000, and at last report was to be deported.
Meanwhile, Phuket officials since midday yesterday have provided three updates on the number of foreigners who have tested positive for Omicron after landing in Phuket, as follows:
- Dec 30 - 20 cases confirmed
- Jan 1 - 15 cases confirmed
- Jan 3 - 3 cases confirmed
Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), on Tuesday confirmed that in Phuket, “There are 136 cases [confirmed as infected with Omicron] plus 31 yesterday still waiting for confirmation from the Department of Medical Sciences from Bangkok.”
Dr Kusak pointed out that most of the infected were tourists, and nearly all of them were infected with Omicron.
* Names withheld by The Phuket News.