The new order was issued yesterday (July 18), and published online after 9pm last night.
The new order is marked to come into effect on July 20, effectively at midnight tonight.
The move to ramp up the COVID protection measures follows a meeting chaired by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday, where the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee agreed to ramp up protection measures from COVID being brought onto the island.
The decision to increase COVID measures followed more infections being found on the island despite elevated measures brought into effect on July 15 (last Thursday), Governor Narong explained.
The new infections were mostly among people who had recently arrived on the island, he said.
Also, the number of new infections confirmed each day has risen above “specified standards”, he added.
Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong explained several of the key measures at another meeting held late yesterday.
Under the new order, all arrivals (starting midnight tonight) must be fully vaccinated or arrive to enter the province within 90 days of being discharged from medical care from recovering from COVID-19.
In terms of arrivals being deemed fully vaccinated, Vice Governor Piyapong said that required the arrival to have received two injections of the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines, or at least one injection of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, at least 14 days before arriving to enter the provinces.
However, regardless of whether the arrival was vaccinated or had recovered from COVID-19, all arrivals must present results from an RT--PCR test or a rapid antigen test issued in the past seven days confirming that the arrival is not infected, he said.
Of note, Dr Chalermpong on Friday confirmed that test results from home test kits would not be accepted by officers screening arrivals wanting to enter Phuket.
Under the order, all children aged 6-18 must have tested negative for COVID-19, just like anyone else. The requirements do not apply to children under 6 years old.
Vice Governor Piyapong also announced that the checkpoint onto the island will be closed to all vehicles from 11pm to 4am.
The only exception to the overnight inbound traffic ban were government officials and other staff and personnel conducting urgent business who had express permission from their supervisor, he said.
Although under the order, it is not clear whether the same rules apply for people wanting to leave Phuket, Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong told The Phuket News this morning, “There are no requirements in order to leave the island, but we would prefer that people in Phuket just stay in Phuket for time the being.”
PERMISSION TO LEAVE
The order specifically mentions that all people who live in Phuket or stay on the island to work ‒ in order to leave the island and to be allowed back on the island ‒ must present proof of vaccination OR a negative test result to enter the island.
They ALSO need to present a form that has been signed by an official.
The form can be seen here.
The form must be signed by an appropriate official at a local government office, such as District Office or local municipality, or local administration organisation (OrBorTor).
Neither the form nor the order defines which officers are deemed to be “relevant government officials”.
Vice Governor Piyapong told The Phuket News this morning, “The decision to introduce the form is primarily for Thais only, but if foreigners apply for the form [signed permission] that would be good too.
“It is up to the local administrative authority [for where the foreigner is staying] to decide whether or not to apply the requirement to foreigners.
“Regardless, foreigners must be vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19 in order to leave and come back onto the island,” he said.
Vice Governor Piyapong yesterday also pointed out that starting tomorrow (July 20), all restaurants must cease serving alcohol or allowing alcohol to be consumed on the premises from 9pm.
All shopping malls and shopping centres must also close at 9pm.
Convenience stores that normally operate 24-hours must close at 11pm and are allowed to reopen at 4am, Vice Governor Piyapong said.
Further public gatherings for activities that are permitted by authorities are now limited to 150 people, he added.
Under the order, all pubs, bars, karaoke venues and other kinds of entertainment venues, as well as venues for gambling, cock fighting, fish fighting, boxing and other similar places, are to remain closed.
Department stores, community malls, and other similar places must be closed at 9pm and the number of customers must be limited. Promotional events remain banned and kids amusement zones must remain closed.
Sport stadiums, gyms and fitness centers can open as normal, but snooker and billiards venues are restricted to being open from 3pm to 9pm only.
Internet cafes must close at 9pm, but movie theaters, theme parks and waterparks can open as normal, except common-touch “playthings” must be open only 8am to 8pm.
Gathering for drinking in public areas remains prohibited.
People are to refrain from holding any celebrations and similar events, except traditional events that can not be postponed, such as funerals, weddings, ordinations and other religious ceremonies.
Government officers and private company staff are suggested to work from home to reduce the risk of infection. Officers leaving the island is prohibited unless there is an urgent or necessary reason, and such officers must be approved by their office chief.
Filming can be conducted with not more than 150 participants, the order noted.
All officers and company staff must strictly follow the disease control measures, the order said.