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Huge traffic crunch in last-day race to enter Phuket under free rapid test

Huge traffic crunch in last-day race to enter Phuket under free rapid test

PHUKET: A huge traffic tailback saw long delays for people coming onto the island by road yesterday (May 15), the last day of free rapid antigen tests for Thais wanting to enter Phuket.

COVID-19Coronavirustourismhealthtransport
By The Phuket News

Sunday 16 May 2021, 05:13PM


A long tailback started forming at the checkpoint onto the island yesterday morning, and was already causing delays by midday.

According to Google Traffic, a 49-minute delay was expected even at 9pm last night.

Officers staffing the road checkpoint onto the island checked 5,127 people entering Phuket, and found not one case testing positive or worth further investigation.

The officers checked 3,422 people coming onto the island at the Phuket Gateway and 1,705 people at the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai. 

A further 508 people were tested by officers on arrival at Phuket International Airport.

In total, medical officers tested 73,287 people coming onto Phuket. Of those, 23 were flagged, about 0.03% of the total number of people tested.

Further testing found 18 of the 23 were infected with COVID-19, the remaining five were deemed to be ‘false positives’.

The testing campaign began on Apr 22 when a provincial order came into effect mandating that all domestic arrivals coming onto the island had to prove they were fully vaccinated or had tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arriving. If the arrival could not prove either, they were required to take a rapid antigen test before being permitted to enter Phuket.

The rapid antigen tests were free for Thais, but B500 for foreigners.

Yesterday marked the last day of what has been promoted as “free screening”.

From today (May 16), all arrivals coming onto Phuket must prove they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arriving or else the arrival will not be permitted to enter Phuket.

Phuket Vice Governor Piyawong has said that the "stringent measure" was to remain in effect until at least May 31.

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