Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced the easing of the screening measures at a meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee yesterday (Sept 22).
The meeting resolved to relax travel to Phuket by allowing people to travel to Phuket by land, sea and air as long as they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from being infected with COVID-19 no more than six months previously.
They must also have tested negative for COVID-19 by RT-PCR or antigen test kit (ATK) within seven days before arriving.
“Such measures will be announced from October 1, 2021 onwards, but people will have to wait for the official order from the province before it can come into effect,” he said.
The current restriction in place requires people entering Phuket to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving to enter the province.
People will also be able to bring their own ATK to the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai, or to a sea port, and conduct the test in front of officers and be issued a certificate that can be used for seven days, Governor Narong said.
All people entering the province must have the Mor Chana app installed on their phones with location sharing enabled, and must register their travel details through the gophuget.com website, he added.
Surachai Chaiwat, honorary chairman of Phuket’s Chamber of Commerce, said the Phuket Sandbox programme saw around 300 tourists arriving each day, well below the target of 1,000 daily foreign arrivals, reported the Bangkok Post.
From July 1 when the programme started to Sept 20, only 34,880 foreign tourists had visited Phuket, he said.
“Phuket is in crisis, so the province must fully reopen,” Mr Surachai noted.
“We need at least 6,000 tourists, both local and foreign, to arrive each day if we are to break even,” he added.
Phuket Tourism Council President Thanet Tantipiriyakit said domestic travel is likely to pick up in the last quarter of the year, adding the segment is vital to Phuket’s recovery.