Phuket Governor issued the order earlier today, with public agencies posting the official notices at about 11pm tonight (Apr 4).
The order came into effect at midnight (00:01am, Apr 5).
Police checkpoints have been set up on the three main roads into Patong:
- in front of the Kathu Police Station, on Phra Baramee Rd in Kathu (the road that continues over Patong Hill)
- in front of Simon Cabaret on Sirirat Rd (at the southern end of Patong)
- in front of Ban Kalim School on the Kamala-Patong Rd (at the northern end of Patong.)
The only vehicles permitted through the checkpoints are those carrying necessary consumer goods and other items needed by public health and other officials in order to carry out their checks for the disease, Governor Phakaphong said.
Patong has fast become the epicentre of COVID-19 infections, with more than half the 109 cases of confirmed infections announced by local health officials being related to places or people in Patong, with most of those being related to the Bangla nightlife area.
“Phuket has a large number of hidden populations and tourists who are at risk of COVID-19. Many of the infections have been located at Soi Bangla, Patong. This area must be investigated,” Governor Phakaphong said.
Phuket Public Health Office Chief Dr Thanit Sermkaew said that delay in confirming that Patong had become a hotbed for the disease was COVID-19’s long incubation period.
“An infected person initially may not show any symptoms, resulting in delayed confirmation that the person is infected,” he said.
Health officials on Thursday (Apr 2) began checks in Patong, Dr Thanit said.
“We found 200 people at risk,” he noted.
An intensive effort by health officials will begin today (Apr 5) and continue through Monday, Dr Thanit added.
“By random testing of additional risk groups, we expect to identify 1,000 at-risk people,” he said.
“Everyone, every household in Patong” will be checked, Governor Phakaphong assured.
“People with fever will be quarantined in a designated place. The government will provide food to look after them,” Governor Phakaphong explained.
“Patong Municipality will clean, disinfect every location, every house in Patong,” he added.
The official order declaring the “Patong shutdown” noted that any persons found breaching the order were punishable under Section 52 of the Communicable Disease Act 2015, which may result in up to one year in jail or a fine of up to B100,000 or both.