The exercise involve 43 actors, simulating 10* foreign tourists arriving at Phuket airport. The ‘tourists’ will undergo all the required processes, including separation from other regular users at the airport and the involvement of officers from the Phuket Provincial Office and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) team at the airport, among others, explained Phuket International Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo.
The exercise will begin at 9am, Mr Thanee confirmed.
“The exercise will involve the full medical team and the ambulance at the airport. Please do not panic if you see this. It is only an exercise,” he said.
The simulation will see ‘actors’ play the role of tourists arriving at Gate 14/15, Mr Thanee said.
“The passengers will be scanned for elevated body temperature, then led to a waiting area. Officials will check their documents such as a Certificate of Entry (COE), a medical certificate or “Fit to Fly”, results of a COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before they boarded the plane, and that they have health insurance coverage of up to US$100,000,” he added.
Only after the passengers’ documents have been inspected and verified, the passengers will be processed by immigration, Mr Thanee noted.
Any persons found without all the correct documentation will not be permitted to enter the country, he said.
“If a passenger has a body temperature of more than 37.3°C, the passenger will be removed from the group and taken for a swab test. If the person is found to be exhibiting signs of infection, they will be classified as a Person Under Investigation (PUI) and the medical team will take them to the designated area to wait for an ambulance to take them to hospital,” Mr Thanee explained.
“Airline staff will bring the passenger’s luggage to the doctor’s clinic at Phuket International Airport,” he added.
Passengers who clear all the document checks and are approved by immigration to enter Thailand will go to collect the baggage claim area. Security personnel will be stationed in the area to prevent people from handling other people’s luggage, Mr Thanee said.
The passengers will then be escorted by security personnel and local police officers to the designated area to wait for staff from their chosen ASQ venue to pick them up.
Staff from the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) venues will be allowed only restricted access to designated areas within the airport so that they may pick up their guests, Mr Thanee explained.
They will not be allowed to enter other general access areas at the airport.
“They will not be allowed to even use the general bathrooms and elevators inside the airport. Separate restrooms will be assigned,” he said.
“ASQ staff must wear protective clothing, as well as all the airport officials involved in handling the new arrivals,” Mr Thanee said.
“The ASQ staff must also present themselves at least 30 minutes before the aircraft lands to be issued a queue number to pick up their guests. Each ASQ vehicle must carry only one passenger, except where the passengers are travelling as a family,” he explained.
“Right now, we really do not know when international flights will be allowed to fly direct to Phuket International Airport. So the main purpose of this exercise is to build confidence among people about what officials will do when processing foreign arrivals, and if a foreign tourist arrival is suspected of being infected with COVID-19,” he added.
*Correction: Simulating only 10 foriegn tourists arriving, not 43 as originally reported. The error is regretted.