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In hunt for Omicron, Phuket health officials yet to locate 40 African tourists

In hunt for Omicron, Phuket health officials yet to locate 40 African tourists

PHUKET: Phuket health officials have yet to locate 40 tourists who have arrived in Phuket since Nov 15 in their campaign to track down any new arrivals who may have brought the Omicron variant of COVID-19 to the island.

COVID-19Coronavirushealthtourism
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 2 December 2021, 04:01PM


Phuket Provincial Public Health Office Chief Dr Kusak Kiattikoon (left) with  Phuket Immigration Superintendent Col Thanet Sukchai this morning (Dec 2). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub)

Phuket Provincial Public Health Office Chief Dr Kusak Kiattikoon (left) with Phuket Immigration Superintendent Col Thanet Sukchai this morning (Dec 2). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub)

Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), announced this morning (Dec 2) that 126 people had arrived in Phuket from South Africa and four had arrived from Namibia since Nov 15.

Since then, of the 130, 58 had already returned home, Dr Kusak said.

Of the remaining 72 tourists still in Thailand, 57 were still in Phuket, he said.

Health officials have already located 17 of the 57 still on the island, he added.

“Health officers are now investigating those tourists and conducting contract tracing,” he said.

“Of those who have arrived since Nov 15, those who have already passed 14 days without any symptoms are safe,” he noted.

“As for the tourists who have not completed 14 days, we are rushing to test them for infection,” he added.

Dr Kusak also pointed out that all of the 57 tourists still at large on the island had already tested negative by RT-PCR tests after arriving in Phuket.

“Phuket Immigration and PPHO officers are now communicating with hotels across the island to locate the remaining [40] tourists,” Dr Kusak assured.

Of note, also present at the press announcement this morning was Phuket Immigration Superintendent Col Thanet Sukchai.

Art-Tec Design

“Immigration officers will go to the areas where the tourists have been located to follow up on the tourists as soon as possible to build confidence among the people and tourists,” he said.

“As for the 15 tourists who have travelled to other provinces, the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office is coordinating with other provincial public health offices to ensure effective disease control,” Dr Kusak said.

Arrivals from eight high-risk countries in the southern regions of the African continent, including South Africa, have been prohibited from entering Phuket via the Test & Go scheme since Nov 27, Dr Kusak explained.

They have also been prohibited from even registering to enter Thailand via Test & Go since Nov 27, he said.

“And since December 1, 2021, they have not been allowed to travel to Phuket anymore,” he added.

Dr Kusak urged people to not panic.

None of the 130 arrivals tested positive after arriving in Phuket, he said.

“Phuket measures have been taken to control COVID-19, covering all aspects of possible transmission,” Dr Kusak added.

However, he added, “We are still asking for cooperation from people to still strictly follow the DMHTTA measures, especially the wearing of masks. Also, wash your hands regularly and maintain social distancing, and receive complete doses of vaccination to protect yourself from COVID-19.”

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