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Phuket Poll: Should the lockdown end on April 30?

Phuket Poll: Should the lockdown end on April 30?

PHUKET: As Phuket proceeds through its second week of “lockdown” to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the big question for everyone is whether the lockdown restrictions on the island should continue past their current deadline of April 30, and if they are to be lifted or even eased, which ones should be the first to go.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 21 April 2020, 05:52PM

A motorist is stopped at a ‘lockdown’ checkpoint in Chalong. Photo: Chalong Municipality

A motorist is stopped at a ‘lockdown’ checkpoint in Chalong. Photo: Chalong Municipality

Other places around the world, most of them with more densely populated areas than Phuket, have been under lockdown for a month. Some places even longer.

The major nationwide restrictions are being considered in Bangkok. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday (Apr 20) made it plain the he does not want to see any lockdown restrictions lifted without discussing with leading industry figures the extent of the impact on the economy the lockdown is having, and discussing with senior health officials whether easing restrictions is appropriate, and if so, which restrictions should be lifted.

But Phuket is subjected to a raft of extra restrictions. For example, in Phuket in addition to the national nighttime curfew from 10pm to 4am, we are under a ban on all non-essential travel to even other subdistricts (“tambon”), and a slew of other restrictions, including a ban on even going to the beach. No such ban exists in Phang Nga, immediately north of Phuket.

If the official figures are to be trusted, Phuket officials are already reporting far fewer confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19 than initially predicted, suggesting that the lockdown restrictions are working.

The initial predictions of Phuket recording 404 confirmed cases by April 19, and 677 cases by April 24, are far above the number of actual reported cases, which as of today (Apr 21) stand at 193 – less than half.

Yet the lockdown is taking its toll in many ways. Mental and emotional stress caused by financial hardship is already among the poor communities across the island, and people rushing and creating a crowd just to get free food in Phuket Town does not help.


All this begs the question whether officials should lift the lockdown come April 30, as currently ordered by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana – who stands to be replaced the instant his transfer out of the province is confirmed by publication in the Government Gazette – or whether the restrictions should be just eased for now, or remain in force further as a precaution against a “second wave” of infection.

To all this, we ask our readers in our latest online poll: “Should the Phuket lockdown restrictions be lifted on April 30?”

Responses available in the poll are as follows:

  • No – keep ALL lockdown restrictions in effect after April 30. The situation is far from over.
  • No – Keep MOST of the lockdown restrictions in force until the situation improves further, but start gradually lifting restrictions that do not directly prevent the spread of the virus (open the beaches, start opening various businesses, lift the alcohol ban).
  • Yes – Lift MOST restrictions on April 30, except the absolutely crucial ones, such as no mass gatherings and the closure of all entertainment venues.
  • Yes – Lift ALL the restrictions altogether on April 30. A major outbreak has already been avoided. The rest of the infections will be those that cannot be contained anyway.

To vote in the poll, click here.

If your preferred response is not available, feel free to add it in the comments below.

The poll will remain open until midnight, April 29.

Comment on this story

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Kurt | 23 April 2020 - 11:21:45

Open some beaches, put chairs on 'social distance', sell a cold beer. Let people walk beach waterfronts with face masks. Phuket authorities are to passive, not even react on actual Tambon local virus numbers. To lazy or brainless. Some Tambons need more restrictions than other. Figures show that. Become pro-active in the virus fight.

friend | 22 April 2020 - 23:27:29

to spread, the corona virus  needs closed spaces, poor ventilation or air conditioning systems, low or humid temperatures. The sea and the beach are the exact opposite of this favorable microclimate.We wait to open the beaches and finally walk on the sand and swim, respecting the social distance.

Christy Sweet | 22 April 2020 - 18:59:26

What we're seeing is a mass down movement of funds- I see it as good. Negative oil prices mean the seismic change we needed has arrived. Let's not go back... but forward. 

Wiesel | 22 April 2020 - 13:06:58

101% is the actual result?? ;-)

CaptainJack69 | 22 April 2020 - 12:21:43

The question is whether the treatment is killing the patient. Does the economic damage caused  by restrictions out-weigh the immediate benefit of reduced transmission and thus demand on the health-care system? Consider the homelessness, exposure, starvation and suicide these restrictions could cause.

LALALA | 22 April 2020 - 11:43:14

Different Corona viruses always appeared parallel to the seasonal flue, this is nothing new....some people even say that the overall death rate for 2020 will be not create a peak at all... its only panic panic panic, created by some so called expat virologists who hunting for budgets and the media followed up by governments whose natural desire is to control their citizens. 

maverick | 22 April 2020 - 10:13:29

Research is suggesting that this virus will never be eliminated and will return like seasonal flu which of course is less of a problem in the tropics - lockdowns were well intentioned to avoid health services becoming overwhelmed not to cripple economies - where to now?

Sandbar | 21 April 2020 - 18:06:13

The question is not so much about the lock down which is vital to contain the spread of Covid_19, but wheather the strick measures put in place are fare and reasonable? Like many other countries leaders face a tough decision and in many cases have thier jobs on the line come a next election. Who would want to be a leader in these very tough and trying times!


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