Vice Governor Piyapong confirmed the news in a daily briefing video posted online last night (Apr 23).
As of Thursday, all people arriving in Phuket from the 17 other red zone provinces (Phuket itself has been designated a red-zone province) must undergo a rapid antigen test if they are unable to prove that they are fully vaccinated and unable to prove they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before arriving, explained again last night for Thai-language viewers.
If people coming to Phuket cannot prove that they are fully vaccinated or prove they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before arriving, they will be required to be tested, he repeated.
At Phuket airport on Thursday (Apr 22), the first day that tests were required, 1,051 people arrived to enter the province, Vice Governor Piyapong said.
Of those, 958 were tested, resulting in two people being identified as COVID positive,
At the Phuket Check Point, at Tha Chatchai, also on Thursday, a total of 9,338 people arrived across the only bridge onto Phuket, Vice Governor Piyapong continued.
Of those, 1,290 arrivals underwent the rapid test, which requires a nasal swab,
“That saw another two people testing positive for COVID-19,” he said.
Although the first day saw long queues at the airport as people waited to be tested, Vice Governor Piyapong last night said that the testing process itself takes “only about 15-20 minutes”.
The process had little effect on delaying arrivals at the airport, he added.
“At Tha Chatchai, it is the same,” he said.
All arrivals must follow the COVID-prevention measures, Vice Governor added.
“You must wear a mask 100%, everywhere you go, and wash your hands often. This is the new normal, wherever you go, shops, restaurants, etc. Everything, everyone must follow the ‘New Normal’,” he said.
Vice Governor Piyapong also confirmed that yesterday Phuket health officials had reported 13 new confirmed COVID infections on the island, bringing the total number of infections during the current outbreak to 292.
Of those, 252 people were receiving “hospital care”, and 40 people had been released from hospital care and allowed to return home.
Vice Governor Piyapong also repeated the explanation that a second ‘field hospital’ is being set up at the Phuket Rajabhat University (PRU) campus north of Phuket Town.
Phuket’s ‘Field Hospital 1’, set up at the Prince of Songkhla University Phuket campus in Kathu, has 170 beds and is currently caring for “70-80” people infected with COVID-19, he said.
The Field Hospital at Phuket Rajabhat University will be brought into use only after ‘Field Hospital 1’ at the PSU campus is full, he said.