The warning from Governor Narong follows the removal of the option for domestic arrivals entering Phuket by land being allowed to observe 14 days quarantine in Phuket after arriving, even if they fail to prove they are vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus.
The option for domestic arrivals to quarantine in Phuket was removed from the latest provincial order, which came into effect on July 1.
At that time, domestic arrivals arriving in Phuket by plane were already to be refused to board their plane if they failed to prove they were vaccinated or had tested negative for the COVID. That rule is still in effect.
Governor Narong’s warning also follows Region 8 Police Commander Lt Gen Kitrat Panpetch delivering the message to a general assembly officers at the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai last Tuesday (June 29).
“Any persons who do not satisfy the requirements set down are not to be granted passage onto or off the island,” Lt Gen Kitrat said.
However, that message apparently is not being understood, with the Phuket Governor repeating the same message yesterday (July 5) as reports started spiralling online over people stuck in Phang Nga unable to enter Phuket as they did not satisfy the requirements of entry to the province.
“From July 1, Phuket government [officers] have checked people who cross the bridge and come through Phuket Check Point as strictly as the checking at the airport,” Governor Narong said yesterday.
“If arrivals have not been vaccinated or tested before coming, we will not allow them entry to the island, as we need to control the number of infected cases [sic]. So, arrivals may face an inconvenience, but it is necessary [for them] to be checked,” he said.
“I would like to ask for cooperation from our brothers and sisters to prepare yourselves in advance. Please get vaccinated or tested in your provinces before coming,” Governor Narong said.
“I also ordered the Chief of Phuket Land Transport Office [PLTO] to tell interprovincial bus operators to check their passengers travelling to Phuket,” he added.
“Please prepare yourselves, it will be good for you and our officers at the checkpoint,” Governor Narong concluded.
Officials deny ‘free pass’ across bridge
Governor Narong’s assurance that officers were being strict in enforcing the requirements for entering Phuket by land came while Phuket office of Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) ramped up its campaign against a video posted online allegedly showing people passing freely through the Phuket Check Point onto the island without being stopped and checked by officers.
PR Phuket yesterday (July 5) posted a notice explaining, “For the video posted on social media on July 2 saying that there was no checking at Phuket Check Point, the information is false. Do not believe and share”.
In the video, which was reported as 2.15 minutes long, a man explains that he was at the checkpoint and observing the checking process.
“I see only one officer working at the checkpoint. A motorbike with sidecar has passed, three pickup trucks have passed without being checked. Two more pickup trucks have passed, and a cement truck has passed,” he said.
“I don’t see any checking being conducted. Riders and drivers can pass through the checkpoint easily. I will not be surprised if the Phuket Sandbox will fail soon because there is no checking,” the man said.
“I have no doubt whether there will be any new cases of [people] infected with the [Delta] variant or [beta] variant or whatever. I will not really be surprised. Goodbye,” he added.
PR Phuket in its post yesterday said, “To those who have watched the video, please do not believe or share it. It is false information which means to damage the image of Phuket.
“Additionally, some Phuket users have posted to offer a reward for any person who can provide information about the man who made the video,” the notice added.