The three ‘mobile lab’ vans were handed over “to support and reduce the time for complete tests when foreign tourists come”, Dr Khajonsak said.
Also present was Dr Anek Mungaomklang, Director of the Ministry of Public Health’s Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention in Bangkok.
Dr Anek explained that His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (Rama X) provided the three mobile units to the Department of Disease Prevention and Control Region 11 office in order to collect samples and test foreign tourists for COVID-19.
“The trucks can be used to collect test samples and go to conduct tests in other areas quickly. It will also reduce tourists’ time waiting for test results at the airport,” Dr Anek said.
Each van is fitted with appropriate equipment for conducting COVID-19 tests, as well as an air filtration system and constant temperature and air pressure control, Dr Anek added.
“Officers will be in the van. They will communicate by microphone and receive samples through a small hole with a glove,” he added.
In pressing the point home, Dr Khajonsak assured that all tourists must be COVID-free and and 100% safe before leaving the ALSQ hotels and going out to travel.
“Local people can count on our quality lab system for sure,” he said.
Dr Khajonsak explained that he was assigned by the Director-General of the Department of Disease Control to evaluate and check the readiness of Phuket before the island would be opened to receive foreign tourists.
“The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for making measures to prevent COVID-19 from outbreaking again, by preparing medical officers and equipment. For local government, they have to well prepare alternative local quarantine venues and others to avoid problems from having tourists in Phuket,” he said.
Following the fanfare that accompanied the opening and public test demonstration of the newly installed COVID-19 test laboratory at the airport late last month, no explanation was given yesterday as to why that newly built facility at the airport was inadequate or why the “test lab vans” were needed to help process COVID tests.