The “proactive screening centre”, open from 7pm to 11pm each night, has been set up in front of Baan Kamnan (the subdistrict chief’s house) in Soi Foodland, behind the Hollywood nightclub.
PEBA President Weerawit Kreuasombat explained that the move is to have all people working on Bangla Rd tested for COVID-19 every seven days.
“To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to society and communities as much as possible,” he said.
The tests being used are antigen test kits (ATKs).
“It has come to the point where we need to work together sincerely and earnestly again. We must join forces to fight in order to maintain the balance of public health and the economy of Patong for as long as possible, because Bangla Rd at present is a very important tourist attraction in Phuket,” Mr Weerawit said.
“As can be seen in pictures of New Year’s Eve, Patong has always been one of the most popular international tourist destinations [in Phuket],” he said.
“For this reason, we seek cooperation from owners, employees and operators. as well as other business people on Soi Bangla, to come to be tested by ATK at the car park at the kamnan’s house every seven days to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 as much as possible,” he added.
“The ATK tests meet Thai FDA standards and are available at an affordable price to alleviate the burden of expenses for our Bangla brothers and sisters as much as possible,” Mr Weerawit noted.
“The test fee is only B40, which is probably the cheapest price in the country, and there are no other costs involved, including free advice on what to do and coordinating with the government for those who test positive,” Mr Weerawit pointed out.
“We also ask for cooperation from all involved at the checkpoint to enter Soi Bangla to raise the level of strictness for all entrepreneurs and tourists who come to Bangla Rd to strictly comply with D-M-H-T-T-A measures in Phuket,” he added.
“If everyone does not cooperate in the initial detection of infection, this would make various business operations difficult to continue. or may result in government policies such as curbs on selling alcohol or reduced opening hours in the future,” he warned.
The move to open the ATK test centre follows 11 Thai women working on Bangla Rd being confirmed as infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The news was confirmed by two reports posted online by the Phuket Info Center, operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, on Saturday night (Jan 1).
The 11 women initially tested positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday (Dec 28). The women were Identified by proactive screening conducted by staff from Patong Hospital using antigen test kits (ATKs).
Meanwhile, the Phuket Info Center has issued an update on the number of international arrivals who have now been confirmed as infected with Omicron.
The update was issued as a notice only, marked as sourced by the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO).
The update marks 19 more international arrivals testing positive for the Omicron variant, bringing the total number of people in Phuket recognised as infected with Omicron to 144.
All 19 reported were Test & Go arrivals who tested positive on landing at Phuket International Airport on Dec 29.
The tourists had arrived from Australia, the US, Belgium, the UK, Indonesia, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Lithuania, the report noted.
Phuket officials finally recognised local transmission of Omicron on the island last Wednesday night.
On Dec 23, two Thai women and one Thai male were all marked as confirmed as infected at Mission Hospital Phuket. On Dec 24, one Thai male was also confirmed at Mission Hospital Phuket, said the report.