However, Dr Kusak urged the public not to panic over international arrivals bringing the virus to Phuket.
“Worry more about domestic arrivals,” he said.
The tourist was confirmed infected after a RT-PCR test was conducted on a swab sample taken at Phuket International Airport when the man landed on Tuesday* (July 6). The test results became available late Tuesday night.
“He was one of 14 passengers on Emirates flight EK378, which arrived in Phuket at 12:30pm on July 6. He had been fully vaccinated with Sinopharm in October-November last year,” Dr Kusak said.
“He tested negative in his home country before departure. However, there are many methods used to test for COVID-19, and we found him positive,” he said.
“The other 13 passengers on the flight have been considered high risk and taken to quarantine at an alternative local quarantine [ALQ] venue for 14 days,” Dr Kusak added.
“This is normal for us and does not affect Phuket much because we find three to five new cases every day. We have already had two cases that were infected from abroad. Those cases came to Phuket by boat,” he said.
“Since opening under the Phuket Sandbox scheme on July 1, about 2,400 arrivals have come to Phuket, and we have found only one person infected, which is 0.04% of all [Sandbox] arrivals. The number is very low and does not affect anything,” Dr Kusak assured.
“Do not panic. We can treat it as a normal case. Our medical staff and officers have worked hard every day to control the outbreak. I am confident that we can handle this,” he said.
“I think we should be more worried about domestic arrivals than those coming from abroad,” he said.
“People in from risk areas, which we know includes Bangkok and the surrounding area and the four deep south provinces, you need to isolate and quarantine yourself to monitor for signs of infection to help protect Phuket Sandbox. If you have any symptoms [of infection], go see a doctor and do not withhold any information from your timeline [of movements provided to health officials],” Dr Kusak said.
“We all have to unite together to help keep Phuket Sandbox going because eyes around the world and Thailand are looking at us. If Phuket Sandbox fails or needs to be canceled, then [reopening tourism in] other provinces that are to be the next ‘sandbox’ destinations will be canceled too,”
“Do not forget to wear a face mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing. Avoid meeting or gathering with large numbers of people,” Dr Kusak concluded.
Dr Kusak also noted that from July 1-7 Phuket had recorded 25 new cases of infection.
According to the PPHO daily report for yesterday (July 7), Phuket recorded four new cases of infection, including the infected Sandbox tourist.
The new infections brought the total number of COVID infections recorded on the island since Apr 3 to 759.
Of those, 714 had been discharged from hospital care, while 47 remained under medical care and supervision.
Since Apr 3 Phuket has suffered seven deaths attributed to COVID-19.
The PPHO’s updated map showing the locations of infections across the island since Apr 3 reported as follows:
- Wichit - 94 infections
- Patong - 80
- Phuket Town - 81
- Rassada - 71
- Kathu - 60
- Chalong - 53
- Rawai - 47
- Cherng Talay - 45
- Thepkrasattri - 38
- Srisoonthorn - 38
- Kamala - 33
- Karon - 30
- Koh Kaew - 27
- Mai Khao - 13
- Pa Khlok - 10
- Sakhu - 9
* Correction: The man arrived on Tuesday, not Saturday. Our apologies. The error is regretted.