“The Sandbox tourists who have tested positive include one from UAE, three from Myanmar, one from South Africa, and one from Switzerland. They have been fully vaccinated with various brands, such as Pfizer, Moderna, Sinopharm and others,” Dr Kusak said at a press conference held at the EOC Command Center yesterday (July 12).
“For now, none of the high-risk contacts [associated with the Sandbox infected] have tested positive,” he said.
“The infected cases among Phuket Sandbox tourists were expected under the plan made before opening the island, and the infections will not be able to stop the Phuket Sandbox scheme for sure,” he added.
“I think we have the strictest measures for screening tourists. We are opening only for tourists from selected countries. The tourists must be swab tested before coming and on arrival, and undergo two more tests during the 14-day stay. I think this is the strictest. The only way to be stricter is to require them to stay in their hotels,” Dr Kusak said.
“Our medical and public health staff can work in a timely manner. We have disease investigation staff in all areas, so they can work very quickly,” he said.
“Finding infected cases [among Sandbox tourists] demonstrates that vaccinations cannot 100% protect you from the virus, so every person needs to strictly follow the DMHTTA measures. Do not underestimate the virus,” he said.
“Meanwhile, you can see that our disease control measures work effectively, and they will boost confidence among tourists and local people,” Dr Kusak assured.
“For today [July 12], we found only one new infected case on the island, bringing the total number of infected cases to 788.
“We have six cases infected from other provinces, two cases infected from foreign countries, and six cases who are Phuket Sandbox tourists,” he said.
“So far, 721 cases have been discharged from the hospital, 72 cases are still receiving treatment, and nine cases have died from the infection,” he added.
While touting that Phuket recorded only one local infection yesterday, Dr Kusak made no mention of the COVID death that was marked in the same report.
The death marked yesterday was the ninth fatality in Phuket attributed to COVID-19 since Apr 3 and the second death reported within the past two days.