The “Phuket Lockdown” was extended through a handful of orders dated as issued on Wednesday (Apr 15), and marked as in effect from Wednesday, but were only publicly posted after 8:30pm last night. (See here.)
The only explanation given for extending the lockdown was to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
However, in its summary of the orders, the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department noted: “All orders of Phuket Province shall end on 30 April 2020”.
The orders made special note that the health regulations in force to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 also apply to all boats, and that all boats except commercial fishing boats, traditional fishing boats, rescue boats, nursing vessels and government vessels are prohibited from the harbor and coast within Phuket.
For those boats that are allowed to put to sea, the orders noted, “When leaving the port or coast at any place, notification must be made to enter the port or coast at the place of departure and the operators and the owners of the boats are to be strict in [enforcing] the epidemic prevention measures.”
“All the boat officials must wear face masks and maintain a space of not less than 1.5 metres [from other people] and [must] strictly follow the procedures Measures of the Ministry of Public Health and Communicable Disease Committees.”
The special reminder for boat captains and crews, which only repeat the health regulations for everyone initially laid down weeks ago, came as Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command yesterday (Apr 17) announced that Phuket’s fishing fleet was free from any COVID-19 infection as he led inspections of fishing crews as part of the efforts to help prevent the spread of virus. (See story here.)
However, as the orders are dated as issued Wednesday, despite being publicly proclaimed only last night, they were technically issued before the Vice Admiral Cherngchai made his claim.
Also given special mention in the latest orders is that all private kindergartens and nurseries must remain closed, and that construction is still allowed to continue, but contractors must only use the construction materials that are already on site. Construction operators are not allowed to move new materials to their worksites.
As is standard, the orders reminded all persons that violating any of the health regulations and restrictions issued under the Emergency Decree would be a breach of Section 52 of the Communicable Disease Act 2015, which can incur a penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to B100,000, or both.
Violating the orders may also be punished under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree, which may incur a penalty of up to two years in prison or a fine of up to B40,000, or both, the orders noted.