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No Omicron in Phuket, assure officials

PHUKET: Phuket Immigration Chief Col Thanet Sukchai and Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong have both assured that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has not yet been found in Phuket, and that all of the tourist arrivals from Africa still on the island have tested negative for the virus.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 9 December 2021, 03:28PM

Phuket Immigration Chief Col Thanet Sukchai speaking to the press today (Dec 9). Photo: PR phuket

Phuket Immigration Chief Col Thanet Sukchai speaking to the press today (Dec 9). Photo: PR phuket

Col Thanet today (Dec 9) pointed out that most of the arrivals from Africa had already passed 14 days without presenting any signs of infection, and that all of the remaining tourists from Africa still in Phuket have tested, with all test results returning negative.

The news was much welcomed, Col Thanet noted.

“The people of Phuket are more comfortable, including Thai tourists who want to visit Phuket during this period. They will be able to feel confident that Phuket is safe and can come to travel in Phuket,” he said.

Col Thanet today emphasised the need for tourists and local residents to feel safe.

Vice Governor Pichet, after a radio interview yesterday, said, “The number of infection cases is decreasing, and most of them are high-risk contacts placed under quarantine for 10 days.”

Most new cases identified, “more than 90%”, were ‘Green’ patients experiencing slight to no symptoms he said.

Those found to be infected were placed under medical quarantine, either in hospital, at a field hospital, in community isolation (which includes stay-at-home isolation) or at “hospitels”, depending on the severity of infection, he explained.

The “COVID Community Care” centres will remain open until at least the end of December, as a precaution in case the number of infections begins to rise again, he said.

V/Gov Pichet also introduced a new acronym used by officials: VUCA

“DMHTTA is still an important measure, such as mask wearing, distancing and hand washing. Another measure is VUCA, in which V stands for vaccine, so we should get two shots of vaccine; U stands for Universal Prevention, which means we have to protect ourselves and don’t be close to people who have a cough or sneeze; C stands for COVID Free Setting, and this measure is for establishments which have to take care of their customers by cleaning and ensuring customers wear marks before and after eating; and A stands for ATK, which means employees should be tested by ATK every seven days,” he said. 

Regarding the arrivals from Africa and the measures to restrict visitors from the continent to Thailand, V/Gov Pichet said, “I feel sorry for arrivals from Africa, especially those not from the eight countries banned.

“You can still come, but must observe quarantine after arriving,” he said.


V/Gov Pichet noted that one group among the 130 originally tracked down for fear of Omicron infections had travelled to Chiang Mai.

Phuket health officials had been in contact with health officials there, and the arrivals will be provided an RT-PCR test for free, he said.

Regarding Thai and foreign workers coming to Phuket, V/Gov Pichet said that Thai workers coming from other provinces must be vaccinated.

If they have not been vaccinated they must receive their first vaccination injection within seven days of entering the province, and their second injection within 30 days after that, he said.

V/Gov Pichet warned any employers would face legal action if they are caught with migrant workers not registered and not approved to enter the province.

“They must have a work permit. If not, they must be arrested. Employers accepting migrant workers from five risk provinces ‒ Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Songkhla, Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat ‒  must notify the provincial employment agency in order to conduct thorough screening. This group will have to quarantine for seven days and be retested once the last quarantine day is over,” he added.

Migrant workers entering Phuket must also be vaccinated within seven days of arriving, and receive their second injection within 30 days after that, he added. 


V/Gov Pichet also warned venue operators that plainclothes police and officials will be inspecting venues and public events to ensure compliance with COVID-prevention measures.

“There will be district officials and police out of uniform. We will blend in, and if need be, warn the venue or event organiser. Popular tourist areas such as Soi Bangla is the same,” he said.

“We are trying to control the circumstances, but the operator must regulate himself, partly because the government has no way to monitor them 24 hours a day. The operator must supervise himself. Operators have agreed to follow the measures under the provincial order, and now it’s getting better,” he added.

“They control themselves, there is no dancing, or there is already a reduction. There is no girl sitting and drinking, or hostess, because if there is, officers have to punish the operator according to the law,” V/Gov Pichet said.

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Kurt | 16 December 2021 - 09:18:26

There is to much room by ordering unvaccinated Thai and migrant workers arriving on Phuket to have a first vaccination within 7 days. Arriving Thai should be fully vaccinated prior arrival, why not? Migrant workers withing 2 days after arrival. 7 Days window is to long.

skorchio | 10 December 2021 - 14:47:22

One this is almost a certainty, Phuket will be the center of Omicron when the defences are breached. 

Kurt | 09 December 2021 - 20:43:41

No Omicron found, doesn't mean Omicron is not yet on Phuket.  It is just what Officialdom want to find or not. Just a thought, we don't want to block/discourage the little incoming tourist flow. Do we?


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