The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Provincial Hall this morning (May 12),pointed out that Phuket had not experienced the high number of confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19 that was predicted by health officials six weeks ago.
Governor Phakaphong pointed out that as of Mar 31 health officials had predicted that Phuket would have 677 confirmed cases by April 26.
That has not happened, he said.
“On April 26, Phuket had only 206 cases,” Gov Phakaphong explained.
As such, “Field Hospital 1” set up at the convention hall at the site of the still-under-construction new Provincial Hall on the south side of Phuket Town as of today has only 13 patients, Governor Phakaphong said.
“Field Hospital 2” set up at the Prince of Songkla University Phuket campus has just six patients, he added.
All six patients at that facility are expected to test negative for the virus when test results are returned sometime before Friday (May 15), Governor Phakaphong noted.
“Therefore we request to temporarily suspend the operation of the field hospitals. The Field Hospital 1 [at the new Provincial Hall] is to close temporarily on May 31, while Field Hospital 2 [at the PSU Phuket campus] is to close temporarily on May 15 [this Friday],” Governor Phakaphong said.
However, Governor Phakaphong stressed that the closure was to be only temporary at this stage.
“The situation must continue to be monitored and if there is no increase in the number of patients, there will be no need to use the field hospitals, but if the number of patients does increase, it may be necessary to use the field hospitals again,” he said.
Governor Phakaphong also pointed out that Phuket has a registered population of 416,582, but usually is home to up to nearly 1 million people, including foreigners from more than 100 countries.
“On May 6, Phuket Province had a total of 220 confirmed cases. Of those, 85 were people registered as living in Phuket, 93 were people still registered as living in other provinces 42 were foreigners of 18 nationalities.
“From that number, it can be seen that the total number of patients in Phuket compared to the population is still too high,” he warned.
“So, we request that the equipment remains at both field hospitals until it is certain that Phuket is safe from COVID-19,” he said.
The situation concerning the field hospitals will be reviewed again this Friday, he noted.
The committee also discussed the possibility of even partially re-opening Phuket International Airport and other ports of entry to allow people back into Phuket, but decided to abstain from any decisions today.
The matter will be raised for further discussion at the committee’s next meeting, it was noted this morning.
The issue of whether the Central Phuket shopping mall should be allowed to re-open was also discussed, with the committee deciding to follow the national guidelines of not allowing any major shopping malls to open at this stage.
The same was decided for all international schools on the island.
The committee also recognised that there were still more than 4,000 tourists from many countries including Russia, France, England, Ukraine and others still on the island.
Flights to repatriate tourists stuck on the island are continuing to operate at the airport, it was noted.