The lockdown will be in effect 24 hours a day, from 00.01am on April 13 to 11:59pm on April 26, a total of 14 days “or until the situation is resolved”, said the order.
Six Phuket subdistricts (“tambon” in Thai) – Patong, Karon, Chalong, Rawai, Kathu and Srisoonthorn – are already under lockdown orders, brought into effect over the past week.
The order to shut down the remaining 11 tambon on the island came at the meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall this afternoon (Apr 9), and the order was posted in Thai on the official Facebook page of the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department this evening. (See here.)
Governor Phakaphong urged all people on the island to remain in their places of residence as much as possible during the lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Also during the fortnight, teams of officers and volunteers will conduct door-to-door checks of households to check the temperatures of residents in the hope of identifying infected people early and hence prevent the virus from spreading further.
“Officers will check the temperature of all people in each area. If any person is suspected of being infected, they will be sent to a hospital specified by the province,” Governor Phakaphong said in the order.
“Officers must clean every public area, and every store by using sterilizing sanitiser,” he added.
“If there are employees who need to work in a hotel. The hotel must find a room for them to stay and must inform the authorities of the number and the details of the people being accommodated.
“And local government officials must publicize this order to people in their areas,” he added.
Only people involved in emergency and essential services will be permitted past the checkpoints to be set up, namely those in the medical, telecommunications and postal services as well as drivers delivering consumer goods and produce and government officers performing their duties.
Any persons needing “absolutely necessary” travel beyond the tambon borders must first obtain permission from their District Chief, the order notes.
The order urged people to prepare for the lockdown, but warned against hoarding. The order did not define the punishment for hoarding, only that punishment for hoarding will be at the “officers’ discretion”.
“The implementation of this order requires the cooperation of all people in Phuket to stop the spread of COVID-19 as soon as possible, which if left for a long time will cause serious damage to someone or affect the public interest. Therefore [I] cannot grant the right to dispute [the order] under Section 30 of the Administrative Procedure Act 1996,” Governor Phakaphong said.
Governor Phakaphong warned that breaking the order was punishable under Section 52 of the Communicable Disease Act 2015, which can incur a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine of up to B100,000, or both.
Breach of the order 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 order noted.
CALL FOR SUPPORT
“To pass through this crisis quickly, we have to ask for cooperation from people to stay home all the time ‘like a 24-hour curfew’ for 14 days after this Monday (Apr 13),” Phuket Provincial Administrative Chief (Palad) Wikrom Jaktee explained after the meeting this afternoon.
“We want everyone to be home and go out as least as you can. We need 14 days, as it is how long it takes for people infected with the coronavirus to show symptoms,” he said.
“There will be exceptions for those who really need to go out [of the tambon],” he assured.
“Please stay home, health volunteers, civil defense volunteers, members of the public and village headmen will knock on your doors to check your body temperatures.
“Please prepare essential goods for living before Apr 13. Those who can not prepare by themselves, please inform your local administrative organizations [municipality and OrBorTor] who will arrange a bag of essential goods for you.” Mr Wikrom said.
“If all people in Phuket together follow the suggestion, we will all eventually see the light at the end of tunnel. If it really works, by April 30, we will have found all the infected people in Phuket and have rushed to help them recover in order to bring our lives back to normal,” he added.
Additional reporting by Khunanya Wanchanwe and Kiattikul Chumanee