The Phuket inmates have had swab test samples taken, Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) has confirmed.
“They are considered as low-risk and will complete the quarantine on April 16,” he said.
Phuket Provincial Prison Commissioner Suchart Silapachai told The Phuket News this morning, “I’m confident in the disease control measures of the public health officer. The seven inmates are now in the quarantine for 14 days in Surat Thani Prison and will be tested many times before being released from the quarantine.
“Before being discharged from quarantine, their swab tests must be negative. If the test is positive, they have to go through the treatment process in a hospital there,” he said.
“If their test results are negative, when they return to Phuket they still have to face quarantine for 14 days in special areas [at Phuket Prison] and be tested again,” Mr Suchart explained.
PPHO Chief Mr Kusak over the weekend explained that the Phuket inmates were attending ‘To Be Number One’ activities held at the Diamond Plaza Hotel.
“The team of Phuket inmates was the ninth team to join an activity, while the inmates from Narathiwat was the first team, so they did not have the chance to come into direct contact with each other,” he said.
“The first team did not join the opening ceremony, and they also left the hotel immediately after finishing their activity, which took them about two hours in the room,” he explained.
“The activity room was cleaned every time after one team finished their performance,” Mr Kusak added.
Phuket Prison Chief Mr Suchart explained, “The seven inmates are all female, but the Narathiwat inmates are all male. They had to be separated during their preparation for their activity and from other inmates in the Surat Thani Prison.
“While the Narathiwat team was taking part in the activity, the Phuket inmates were not in the same room, and the hotel management confirmed they cleaned the room every time after a team finished,” he said.
“I trust in the disease controls measure. If they are infected, they will not be allowed to come to Phuket for sure,” Mr Suchart said.
Regardless, Corrections Department Director-General Aryut Sinthoppan yesterday (Apr 4) announced that prison visits have been suspended nationwide for one month from April 5 to May 5 after it had been confirmed that 112 officials and inmates at the Narathiwat prison were now reported to have been infected with COVID-19.
Phuket Prison Chief Mr Suchart confirmed this morning that Phukte Prison is enforcing the ban on visits from people outside the prison, starting today (Apr 5).
“During the month, relatives can communicate with prisoners by video calling through Line. They can also transfer money to the inmates and buy items made by prisoners,” he said.
Inmates who have been allowed to work outside the prison while wearing tracking devices as a reward for good behaviour are also now not allowed to venture outside the prison, Mr Suchart added.
“At this stage, we are not allowing them to go outside, while we also are not allowing people to go inside the prison,” he said.
“For new inmates, they have to be swab tested and face at least 14-21 days quarantine in our special areas before entering normal areas [inside the prison],” Mr Suchart noted.
“The swab tests are conducted on days one, three and 12,” he said.
“Normally, our inmates have to wear facemasks all the time, but they sometimes do not wear them. We do not want to put pressure on them to strictly wear them all the time. We only encourage them and ask for thor cooperation,” he added.