The news was announced during an “all star” press conference broadcast live online this morning (May 5).
Present for the live broadcast were Phuket Vice Governors Vikrom Jakthee and Piyapong Choowong, Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Kusak Kukiattikoon, Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Chalermpong Sukontapol, Vachira Phuket Hospital Epidemiologist Dr Withita Jaeng-iam, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Pornsak Nuannoo, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society academic Pracha Asawathira PhD as well as Dr Chayanon Pucharoen, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Phuket campus in Kathu.
Leading the press conference, Governor Narong explained, “As the rapid antigen tests are used in many areas in the country, and for Phuket, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) will support the cost for the rapid test [for Thais] only until May 15.
“After May 15, arrivals who do not have a vaccine certificate or test certificate [confirming they tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of arriving] must pay for a rapid test by themselves,” Governor Narong said.
“The PPHO is making preparations to determine the price and preparing the staff to conduct the testing process, which needs to be transparent,” he added.
“More details will be announced later,” he said.
All foreigners have been required to B500 each time for the rapid antigen test since the requirement came into effect on Apr 22.
Angering the foreign community across the island was that the test was to initially cost B300 each time for all people, but the price was raised to B500 each time when it was decided to charge only foreigners.
RAPID TEST EFFECTIVENESS
Dr Chalermpong noted the effectiveness of rapid testing people entering the province.
According to the Official COVID-19 Information Center Phuket, a total of 37,477 people have been tested on arrival from Apr 22 to yesterday (May 4).
Just yesterday alone, 3,195 were tested on arriving to enter the province. Of those 2,099 were tested at Phuket Gateway and 695 were tested at Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai, and the remaining 401 were tested at the airport.
So far the rapid testing identified 22 people as positive, Dr Chalermpong explained.
However, he added that 17 of the 22 were actually later confirmed as infected with COVID-19.
“Five of them were detected at the airport, and the remaining 12 were detected at Phuket Check Point,” he said.
The remaining five of the 22 were later confirmed by ensuing tests to be not infected with the virus.