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Phuket Opinion: The Last Stand

PHUKET: The national emergency powers rolled out this week to help try to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus are as divisive as the last time Prime Minister Prayut had such wide-ranging powers, immediately after the 2014 coup.

By The Phuket News

Friday 27 March 2020, 07:08PM

People still enjoying Patong Beach. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

People still enjoying Patong Beach. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The state of emergency has been confirmed so far for Mar 26-Apr 30, and may be extended further. Yet no matter what measures are doled out, they will not silence critics. If the official reports are to be believed – and we presume that at least the government believes them – the measures already in place have already made Thailand one of the safest places in Asia. The government’s own reports beg the question that if the existing measures have already contained the virus to just five deaths as of Friday (Mar 27), then why the need for the emergency powers?

Of course, the strong argument of a preventative policy is best is being advocated, and that too is difficult to argue against. But the only real measure that can be taken is an all-out ban on being in public without essential need – a real “lockdown”, not the measures taken so far that have already been given that label by enthusiastic officials and excited media.

Local officials this week finally took genuine measures to reasonably try to prevent the spread of the disease with the mass closure of venues across the island, but the big question for Phuket is whether or not they will close the beaches.

CMI - Thailand

This is where all those people stuck in Phuket might relish where they happen to be trapped during this global episode – providing they don’t catch the disease while having minimal or no health coverage at all. People on the beaches this week have shown that some enjoy the social distance the sand can provide, while others plainly, and dangerously, did not. At this stage it is still a choice.

It’s no secret that the beaches are nigh sacrosanct when it comes to the island’s tourism image. People flout the law at will where they want or simply have the tacit approval of local authorities, as long as it does not interfere with the money-making lure of our shores.

Now, while we’re under siege by this virus, whether Phuket’s beaches will remain open will send a clear message as to exactly how serious officials consider the threat.

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Rorri_2 | 29 March 2020 - 06:22:51

CHRISCHROSSTHAI , if natural levels of UV light was a factor, then there would be no viruses, of any kind, anywhere.. Australia has one of the highest UV rating, and yet, guess what, that damn virus is spreading. Viruses love Thailand, where millions eat from communal bowls, using their fingers, so why are the Covis-19 numbers low.. it's not hard to work out, under reporting, under testing.

CHRISCHROSSTHAI | 28 March 2020 - 16:14:05

About humidity and high temperature, yes below 33 degrees not too big difference, but actually I would think that the temperature is higher at daytime, and number of daytime hours is higher as well, as UV light which could be a positive factor in reducing the number of active hours of the virus... Not saying everything is good, just saying that it could and if we are lucky it will reduce the spre.

Christy Sweet | 28 March 2020 - 13:49:36

People are wearing masks in Asia  and it's  working.  The Thai  gov is providing a  4 pack for 10 baht at Villa Market. Meanwhile,  US and EU are getting  slammed from shortages. 

H2538 | 28 March 2020 - 13:00:53

Even if high temperature and high humidity both are good factors in against the Corona virus I'm afraid warm weather not help against huge population and a get together culture mentality. Individual thinking and discipline could IMO have saved many countries restriction which which in the end damage their economy more than protecting citizens.

Christy Sweet | 28 March 2020 - 11:39:08

It's heating and A/C that make lungs susceptible to pathogens, not the outside temperature.  

Rorri_2 | 28 March 2020 - 11:31:25

CHRISCHROSSTHAI .. this from a 
 controlled study.."High relative humidity (>95%) at comparatively low temperature (28°C and 33°C)did not affect the virus infectivity significantly" so currently Thailand's weather has little affect. What is keeping it down is "rubbery" figures, and an increase in "viral" pneumonia. 

jamstock | 28 March 2020 - 10:44:40

I think that closing the beaches would be a big mistake as the hot sun, dry sand and salty water would make it very hard for any virus to survive, so likelihood of transmission is low. To maintain their health and wellbeing people need to a place to go out and get some air and some exercise (In UK parks are still allowed). People just need to be sensible and not gather in big groups.

CaptainJack69 | 28 March 2020 - 10:28:02

Like all sensible people in the world I have spent most of the last week in my home. When I went out yesterday to do an essential errand I was... well, frankly appalled to see how many people are out and about. The Thai's are carrying on like normal. Traffic is totally normal, most businesses are open. Sure most people are wearing masking (but not all) but still NO crash helmets on motorbikes.

CaptainJack69 | 28 March 2020 - 10:27:46

The official statistics tell us that more than 70 people die on Thailand's roads every day yet no one bats an eyelid over that. In 3 months of 'infection' 5 people have died from the virus. I'm sorry, where's the logic here? And if everyone is ignoring the stay-in-place guidelines anyway then why wreak so much havoc closing borders and destroying so many peoples businesses and ...

Kurt | 28 March 2020 - 10:04:39

@Pascale. Hold your breath. Traditional Thailand is always a bit late in 'things'. The Corona Covid 19 is now busy with  catching up fast in Thailand. By the way, are the Phuket ditches and canals already cleaned/prepared for coming rains, if they may come?

DeKaaskopp | 28 March 2020 - 10:00:03

@R.   03.53.04  Having a night shift again to do a research on hidden/not published cases in Thailand ? When can we expect to read about your result of people being tested positive on the virus and numbers weren't published ? 

CHRISCHROSSTHAI | 28 March 2020 - 08:59:24

I would say that previous research suggests that high temperature and high humidity both are good factors in reducing the Corona virus survival time on surfaces and thus reducing the spread... So Thailand and Phuket would have a better chance in fighting the spread of the virus than Europe and US; though, restrictions by government is still nessesary.... It just give us better odds, a chance.... 

Rorri_2 | 28 March 2020 - 03:53:04

Fascinated "does anyone really believe the Gov't figures," yes, Jor12/Dek/Pascale believe the govts figures.

Pascale | 27 March 2020 - 22:47:49

all those experts on here how to fight the virus.Seems to me that the vast amount of daily news about the virus and the whole situation itself overchallenges the ability of their rational thinking.If this crisis is over one day,all those cry babies should move to a place that suits their needs more. Thailand doesn't need you.

Pascale | 27 March 2020 - 22:25:24

For months now some poster seem to know what measures the government should have taken to prevent the spreading of the virus.Are those people actually aware what is going on in the rest of the world ? If Thailand is doing all wrong, so why is it that so many other countries are suffering extremely and do have so many cases ? Are they doing all wrong too ? Maybe they should contact

Fascinated | 27 March 2020 - 20:05:33

Safest place in Asia? We have seen lying, prevaricating and the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.  Taking 'action' this week is far too late- profit has conquered sense yet again. there should have been real action taken at the end of January instead of encouraging Chinese visitors. As ye sow so shall ye reap and does anyone really believe the Gov't figures? 


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