The news was confirmed during a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (May 7) that was attended by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn Governor and TAT Executive Committee members by Zoom.
Governor Narong explained the measures currently in effect in Phuket to control and prevent the spread of COVID 19, and briefed the TAT Governor on the current situation regarding infections in Phuket.
He also reported that so far 95,423 people in Phuket had received their first vaccination injection, with 90,781 of those also receiving their second injection.
According to provincial officials 39.45% of the people in Thalang District, 28.13% of those living Kathu District and 21.75% of those living in Muang District have now been vaccinated, Governor Narong explained.
In total 321,979 people on the island remain to be vaccinated in order for Phuket to reach the target 70% of the population to achieve herd immunity, he said.
The mass-vaccination campaign will continue in May, with Phuket to receive 200,000 more doses of COVID vaccine this month, he added.
Phuket is moving ahead with the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ tourism policy and will implement the measures as already set out, Governor Narong said.
“During the second quarter of 2021 (April-June), vaccinated foreign tourists will be quarantined for a period of seven days before they can explore the area. There must be appropriate routes set out and measures in place in order for them to travel throughout the area in the form of ‘sealed routes’,” he said.
“Phase 2, during the third quarter of 2021 (July-September), foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19 will be able to enter Phuket directly via plane, and they will be able to travel throughout the area of Phuket without [observing] quarantine,,” he added.
“However, the foreign tourists must stay in Phuket for seven days before they can travel to other areas [in Thailand], and they must follow the public health measures” he noted.
“Phase 3, in the fourth quarter of 2021 (October-December), is an extension of Phase 2, with foreign tourists who are fully vaccinated and testing negative for COVID-19 test being able to travel directly into other pilot areas such as Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Samui District, Surat Thani Province, Pattaya City, Chonburi Province and Chiang Mai directly via plane and travel in those areas without quarantine.
“However, the group of foreign tourists must stay within the pilot areas for seven days before traveling to other areas, and they must follow other public health measures as well,” Governor Narong explained.
“And Phase 4, during the first quarter of 2022, fully vaccinated foreign tourists who test negative for COVID-19 will be able to enter Thailand without quarantine,” Governor Narong said.
“The implementation of the plan will make Phuket a ‘Better Phuket’, a ‘New Phuket’ and will allow for Mega Fam trips, all following our Phuket ‘GEMMSST’ strategies* to become a leader in enhancing Thailand’s tourism services that tourists are well versed in and trust the country’s SHA safe travel public health safety standards,” Governor Narong added.
“In the period of May to June 2021, the Tourism Authority of Thailand will publicise the tourist plan and let the private sector offer packages,” he announced.
“As for Phuket, we will prepare the area to be ready, safe, a white area [for receiving tourists],” he added.
“In July, we will have 6,000 tourists from nearby countries which will generate about B284.40 million, while tourists from far away countries will be about 23,700, which will generate B2.59 billion. More tourists are coming in the following months,” Governor Narong said.
Governor Narong admitted that the current situation was still uncertain as there were still new infections confirmed every day, but added that measures were being enforced in Phuket to help contain the number of daily infections to less than 10 a day.
A proactive screening campaign is underway across the island, he said.
“Any persons who test positive will be quarantined at a ‘Local Quarantine’ facility and will remain in quarantine or under medical care until they have recovered,” he noted.
Governor Narong also confirmed that from May 15 there will no longer be any rapid antigen tests for people arriving on the island from ‘red zone’ provinces.
If the arrival cannot prove they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving, after May 15 they will be required to observe a 14-day quarantine “at their own residence or hotel at their own expense”, he said.
* The ‘GEMMSST’ policy is the government and private industry push to develop Phuket in the fields of Gastronomy, Education, Medical & Wellness, Marina Hub, Sports & Events, Smart City and Tuna in order to become “hubs” for those industries. (See story here.)