The news was announced during a live broadcast this morning presided by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.
Joining the the governor were Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Kusak Kukiattikoon, Phuket Vice Governors Pichet Pananpong and Piyapong Choowong, along with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri and other high-level provincial officers.
“Right now, the Phuket Governor and relevant officials together have set up Covid Care Centers [abbreviated to CCC*] which will open today [Aug 11] for those who have tested positive via antigen test kits but are still healthy,” Dr Kusak said.
“They do not need to see a doctor or be taken into local quarantine or even a field hospital, but we will send teams of medical staff to check them frequently,” he added.
However, Dr Kusak gave no explanation of how long people living healthily with no symptoms of infection will be kept at the CCCs, and no explanation of how often they will be tested, or on which conditions they will be allowed to go home.
Previously, Phuket health officials allowed asymptomatic COVID patients to self-quarantine at home.
Governor Narong said, “The main CCC will be at our old Phuket prison, where there are no prisoners anymore. The building was developed [into a CCC] over a couple of days by staff under control of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation [PPAO, OrBorJor] President Rewat Areerob and Phuket City Mayor Saroj Angkanapilas,” he added.
“The other two venues to be used as CCCs are Wat Thepwanaram [Wat Manik, in Baan Manik, Thalang] and Wat Phrathong in Thalang,” Governor Narong added.
Vice Governor Pichet yesterday announced there will be three CCCs across the island ‒ one in each of Phuket’s three districts: Muang, Kathu and Thalang.
Following the locations given by Governor Narong this morning, Vice Governor Piyapong later confirmed to The Phuket News today that there will be a fourth CCC, one for Kathu, at the Ramada by Wyndham Phuket Patong.
“And yesterday, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn gave us 10,000 antigen test kits [which local officials call ATKs], which we will be used in the proactive screening [to identify COVID-positive people],” Governor Narong continued.
Governor Narong later today visited the prison to inspect conditions there, where 500 thin mattresses have been set up on the floor in the dormitory areas, shower curtains have been installed for privacy, pot plants have been placed to brighten the place up and curtains have been put up on many of the windows with bars.
The interior of the prison has been repainted and cleaned thoroughly, and many of the signs that were intended for prisoners have now been removed.
Dr Kusak this morning noted that Phuket officials yesterday confirmed 54 new cases of infection.
Of those, only 37 were local infections among people living or staying on the island, Dr Kusak continued.
“Among the 37, 24 were high-risk contacts that were found to be infected while staying at a local quarantine venue, and 13 are new cases who need to be questioned [about how they became infected],” Dr Kusak said.
“The other 16 marked as infected cases from a foreign country are all Thai fishermen who just came back from Myanmar. There are 18 people on their boat, and 16 people were confirmed infected. About seven of them have some symptoms and have already been taken to hospital, while the remaining are quarantining on the boat,” he said.
“We also had another person from the ‘Bring Phuket People Home’ project, bringing the total number of people under the project [infected people brought back to Phuket for treatment] to 35,” he added.
Dr Chayanon Pucharoen, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the PSU Phuket Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, today noted that concerns of becoming infected with COVID-19 were rising across the island.
“During the past week, people in Phuket searched for ‘Initial symptoms of COVID-19 infection’ and ‘where to take a COVID-19 test’ very often through Google.com. This demonstrates that our brothers and sisters are worried about their health. Please directly contact our PPHO for information,” he said.
* NOTE: Phuket officials have yet to consistently use one name for the centres, varying between “Community Care Center”, “Covid-19 Care Center” and “Phuket Covid-19 Care Center”, among others.