A ceremony to mark the donation was held on Monday afternoon (May 11) at the Phuket Check Point, where all people leaving the island to return to their home provinces are screened and verified as authorised to leave Phuket with a “Fit to Travel” permit.
Present at the ceremony was Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Rungrote Thakurapunyasiri and the six key donors, or their representatives: Sombat Atiset, CEO of Kata Thani hotels, who donated B5mn; along with Kata Group founder and President Pramookpisitt Achariyachai along with Tunyaratt Achariyachai, who has also previously served for years as the Chair of the Senate committee for Tourism, who together donated B1mn.
Also present were Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, representing of Central Group; Benjawan Tampanuwat, President of the Phuket chapter of the Kusoldharm Foundation, and Natthakanya Saengpho, CEO of Paradise Group and Andara Resort Residence. All three also donated B1mn each.
A further B1mn was provided by the Phuket branch of the Police Audit and Monitoring Committee.
The project, branded “Phuket Smart Check Point”, will instill confidence that no people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 will be allowed to leave Phuket, Gen Rungrote said.
The project will see better body-temperature screening capabilities at the checkpoint, and will feature face and licence plate recognition capabilities to identify any persons identified as infected with the virus, or even recorded by officials as a Person Under Observation (PUI).
“We have a group of officers to do the work, but it will take less time with more effective results by using the technology,” Gen Rungrote said.
The mass exodus of people leaving Phuket to return to their home provinces has renewed fears of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections after four new infections were found on the island on Sunday (May 10), prompting the government to ramp up disease control measures to screen returnees heading to their homes from the island province.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Sunday that Phuket remains under close watch because between 10,000-20,000 people have left since the nationwide lockdown was eased on May 3.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana last estimated the number of people who have registered to leave the island to be “about 50,000”.