The new order issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew comes just five days after the latest order imposing COVID-19 restrictions came into effect last Thursday (May 13).
The order issued last night was marked as in effect from yesterday (May 17), but the order itself was published after 9pm.
Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong told The Phuket News this morning, “From the order, we just follow the CCSA’s [the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration in Bangkok] approval.”
“Before this, all restaurants in Phuket as one of the red zone provinces could open for services until only 9pm, but now the measure has been lifted, but alcohol cannot be served,” he said.
The CCSA on Friday yet again revised its classification of provinces in accordance with the impact each province was currently being affected by COVID-19 infections.
Under the system, Phuket is no longer a “red zone” province, but instead now an “orange zone” province where restrictions on restaurant opening times have been lifted.
According to the national authorities, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), public gatherings in orange zone provinces are limited to 50 people and markets and convenience stores are now allowed to open for their usual hours.
However, Phuket officials have not yet confirmed that these measures have been relaxed in Phuket. The order issued last night made no mention of them.
Meanwhile, the order issued last night did confirm that schools and other “educational institutions” can use their buildings for studying, testing, training and other activities as long as the relevant COVID-19 prevention measures were in effect.
“I would like to inform the public that the CCSA has allowed to open the international schools and the private schools, which is not under control of the Ministry of Education,” Vice Governor Piyapong explained today.
“The provincial order about this will come later, in about five days,” he said.
“The international schools will be able to open next Monday [May 24], but the government schools will be open on June 1 as ordered previously,” he added.
The easing of some restrictions comes as Phuket enjoys its third consecutive day with the daily number of new infections remaining in the single-digits.
The Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) has reported just four new cases of people in Phuket infected with COVID-19 for yesterday (May 17).
Since the arrival of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul and Tourism & Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn in Phuket on Saturday (May 15), the PPHO has reported a total of just 10 new cases over the past three days: four on Saturday, two on Sunday and four yesterday.
The four new cases bring to 608 the total number of people in Phuket officially recognised as infected with COVID-19 since Apr 3, said the PPHO report.
Of the 608 cases so far, 468 have been discharged from medical care.
So far Phuket has suffered one death directly related to COVID-19 since the ‘Third Wave’ of infections began on the island on Apr 3 ‒ that of a 71-year-old man who was already suffering from emphysema.