** A full update on the rules and expected behaviour of people observing Songkran has been posted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. See story here.
APOLOGY: The original photo posted with this story has been replaced as it led people to believe that mass water play would be allowed. It is not.
The photo originally shown with this article was a grievous error in judgement. We apologise for any misundertstanding this may have caused.
Patong, Karon, Chalong, Rawai, Kathu and Srisoonthorn subdistricts are already under lockdown orders, rolled out of the past week.
All remaining subdistricts, or “tambon” in Thai, will be under lockdown order for 14 days starting Monday, Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana explained in a televised interview with state broadcaster MCOT.
The interview went live on the MCOT HD 30 TV channel at midday today (Apr 8).
Phuket is the first province in the country to announce such a measure to try to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus while allowing Songkran celebrations to continue, Governor Phakaphong said.
Door-to-door checks, such as those conducted in Patong this week, will be carried out islandwide, he added.
“Next, we will work together with health officials and police to check every house, check people’s body temperatures and question people about their activities to track down any possible infections of COVID-19,” he explained.
“The police will be involved because they are experienced in questioning people and identifying people who are not telling the truth,” he said.
Phuket’s leading health officials believe that the worst of the infection spread across the island will be over by the end of the month, Governor Phakaphong noted.
“The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee estimates that the situation will be better by April 30,” he said.
“Meanwhile, there are still about 3,000 foreign tourists in Phuket. I was informed of this number by Phuket Immigration. Many of these people still want to leave Phuket.
“Last night (Apr 7), about 500 people left Phuket on a flight organised by foreign embassies,” he added.