Vice Governor Piyapong explained this morning (July 14) that a Facebook post making the claim had been shared many times, and that some news agencies had reported it as news.
“A few days ago I saw a news article saying that some Sandbox tourists had packed their bags and flown back to their home countries before completing the [required] 14 days stay because they were not satisfied with our Phuket Sandbox measures,” he said.
“I have checked with our staff and found that the information is not true. We have had some tourists fly back home, but they left because they did not want to enter quarantine. It’s their right to do so, as they were only high-risk people and had tested negative [for COVID-19],” he said.
“I would like to ask every person to consider and think first before believing any news,” he added.
Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, who also joined the live broadcast this morning, which was chaired by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, explained that tourists can fly out of the country any time if they have tested negative for COVID-19
“Some tourists came to Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, stayed less than 14 days, and flew back to their home countries,” he said.
“According to the Sandbox measures, tourists must be tested for [COVID] three times, including the day of arrival, on Day 7 and Day 14, so they can go to other provinces,” he said.
“If they want to fly out of the Kingdom, they do not need to stay for 14 days. They need to test negative, otherwise we will not let them fly out,” Dr Kusak said.
“I received a report that there were three groups of tourists who have already flown back to their home countries. The first group were the 14 tourists who were considered high-risk people and did not want to do quarantine at a local quarantine [LQ] venue,” he said.
“The second group were tourists who came here to do errands and business for a few days, and the last group were tourists who already planned to stay in Phuket for less than 14 days. This may be because they had only a short holiday,” he said.
“We all have taken care of tourists very well,” Dr Kusak concluded.