However, there will be harsh penalties for any people under quarantine found outside their hotel area, Dr Thanit Sermkaew, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), told The Phuket News today (Jan 13).
Under the provincial order issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last Saturday (Jan 9), all people arriving in Phuket from the ‘highest-risk’ provinces must quarantine for 14 days at an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel or other appropriate venue after arriving in Phuket.
The only exception are those who are exiting a 14-day quarantine in Bangkok after testing negative for the virus. All such people must travel directly to Phuket immediately after being released from quarantine in Bangkok.
Under the provincial order, all people arriving from Samut Sakhon, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi or Trat must be quarantined for 14 days at an ASQ after arriving Phuket and must undergo swab tests.
People arriving from the provinces of Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi or Nakhon Pathom, from Nong Khaem District, Bang Phlat District, Bang Khae District, Bang Khun or Thian District in Bangkok, must also observe a 14-day quarantine after arriving in Phuket.
Phuket residents returning home from a ’red zone’ area may serve their quarantine at home, but must not leave their property for the quarantine period.
For people observing their quarantine at an ASQ, Dr Thanit said, “It would be great if visitors from the ’red zone’ areas stay in their hotels [or homes], so we are asking for their cooperation. They do not need to stay only in their room. They are able to do activities within the hotel, such as having meals, swimming, yoga and other activities.
"Please do not go outside the hotel. That would be a good preventative measure in Phuket province," he added.
Dr Thanit pointed out that there are harsh penalties for people caught breaking the COVID-19 requirements, which includes being caught outside the quarantine area while still under quarantine.
Failure to comply with the COVID-19 order issued last Saturday may be punished under Section 51 of Disease Control Act 2015, which incurs a fine of up to B20,000, or under Section 52 of the act, which invokes a penalty of up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to B100,000 or both, the order noted.
Those found breaching the order will also be charged under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005), which invokes a penalty of up to two years imprisonment or up to B40,000 or both, the order warned.
The confirmation that people under quarantine in Phuket were allowed outside their rooms follows Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong “request” the people under quarantine do not leave the hotel grounds.
“Right now Phuket is free from COVID-19 infected people, so our plan is to work with hotel management teams and other relevant people in the private sector to safely re-open to receive visitors from various areas, including the red, orange and yellow zones,” he said.
“Phuket officials have asked for the cooperation from operators to record the travel moments of guests before they arrived at the hotel and to request that their guests stay within the hotel area only, not to go outside of the hotel area,” he added.
V/Gov Pichet also repeated the explanation that Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) will be responsible for ensuring that new arrivals in their respective areas comply with COVID-19 requirements.
V/Gov Pichet also warned that any persons found not complying with COVID-19 orders faced legal action.
“If they fail to follow the law, they will be charged,” he said.
“The reason is that Phuket officials have issued provincial regulations for many sectors in order to take care of guests and make sure they [the guests] follow the provincial orders. All this is for the best preparation measures for the prevention of and to control the spread of COVID-19,” V/Gov Pichet added.
“Hopefully, many sectors will give good cooperation to keep Phuket free from COVID-19 together. The current Phuket order will remain in effect until Jan 31,” he said.