Governor Phakaphong delivered his expectation today at a meeting of high-ranking Phuket officials to set goals and strategies for joint action “to end the COVID-19 situation” in Phuket.
The Governor pointed out the many measures already rolled out to help prevent the spread of the virus, including the 14-day lockdown on all non-essential travel between sub-districts which began yesterday.
“The results have showed that the rate of COVID-19 patients found is decreasing, and if this continues the situation of the spread of COVID-19 infection in Phuket should be completely ended by April 30, 2020, therefore to ensure this happens relevant agencies have been invited to attend this meeting in order to achieve that target,” he said.
It was pointed out that key risks groups remained any persons living or working in Patong, and recent arrivals on the island, and now included people in the Bang Tao area.
A team of 40 doctors and medical personnel from Songklanagarind Hospital in Hat Yai District, Songkhla Province, are to arrive tomorrow (Apr 15) to staff the “second field hospital” now set up at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Phuket campus, the Governor explained.
He also said that according to the Ministry of Interior some 1,327 Americans are still in Phuket waiting to return home. Arrangements were being made to airlift them off the island, he added.
“Those left in Phuket may need to prepare to board a plane in Bangkok, or a flight may fly down to pick them up in Phuket,” he said.
Phuket Immigration reported that a total of 4,117 foreign visitors were still on the island, he added.
Dr Thanit Sermkaew, Chief of Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO), pointed out the countermeasures being rolled out in Patong to help early identification of people suspected of being infected with the virus.
However, he also pointed out rising number of infections in Bang Tao, including a 97-year-old woman.
“Fortunately, she was not showing any symptoms of the disease,” he said.
“Bang Tao is a community where residents consistently go about their daily lives. Changing the lifestyle of the community is quite difficult,” Dr Thanit said.
“In the Bang Tao area of Cherng Talay, there is a need to search for infected patients to conduct screening tests to cover all cases,” he continued.
The Surin Beach Resort and one of The Kris venues in Bang Tao have both been dedicated as accommodation where infected people can stay, and both of them have already started to fill, Dr Thanit said.
“Therefore, the province is coordinating with Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation [OrBorTor] to procure one additional location in the Bang Tao area to provide accommodation for the growing number of infected patients,” he said.
Also discussed was the issue of 5,000 Thais who will start to return from Malaysia when the Sadao border checkpoint opens on April 16, allowing 350 people a day to enter Thailand.
“We are not certain how many of these people are from Phuket. I request that Phuket prepares to support these people when they return,: Dr Thanit added.