According to the order issued by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last week, the lockdown, bound by the perimeter of Ranong Rd, Soi Phuthorn and Bangkok Rd, is due to expire at midnight tonight (11:59pm, Aug 17)
Under the lockdown order, issued last Wednesday (Aug 11), “No people are allowed to enter or leave the area, except for the delivery of food, cooking gas, medical equipment, as well as emergency ambulance and medical staff.”
The lockdown was brought into force after a spate of infections at the Phuket Town Fresh Market 1 on Ranong Rd, leading to more than 100 confirmed cases in the area.
However, whether or not the lockdown will be lifted depends on how many people test positive today in the mass community screening that has been underway since last week using ‘antigen test kits’ (ATKs), Mayor Saroj told The Phuket News earlier today.
“Right now, the area around the market is still under lockdown. To lift or remain the lockdown is under the authority of Phuket Communicable Disease Committee,” he said.
“Today, we sent our officers and staff from the Phuket City Medical Department to the market to conduct a second test of the people living and working in the area. The tests are being conducted on the fourth floor of the fresh market. We started testing Thai people from 9am and will test migrant workers from 1pm,” he said.
“After receiving the results of the second test, we will report the results to the Phuket Public Health Office [PPHO] and the [Phuket Communicable Disease] committee, so they will consider whether they will lift the lockdown or not,” he added.
“I would like to explain that not all vendors and people working in the Phuket Town Fresh Market 1 [on Ranong Rd] and at Phuket Town Fresh Market 2 [near Robinson department store] live in Phuket Town. Some of them are from other areas across the island, so the PPHO needs to check those people later,” Mayor Saroj said.
Asked how many people in the area had been tested so far, Mayor Saroj said that only knew that more than 1,000 people had been tested.
A health officer at Phuket City Municipality, who asked not to be named, last Friday (Aug 13) told The Phuket News that more than 1,300 people in the lockdown area had been tested, leading to 55 people testing positive by antigen test kits.
“On Aug 11 [Wednesday], we tested 870 people in our proactive screening at the market and found 11 people infected, those were four Thais and seven migrant workers,” she said.
“And yesterday [Thursday, Aug 12], we changed the location for the testing to the petanque venue at Saphan Hin. We tested 543 people, those were 429 Thais and 114 migrant workers. Forty-four people, 21 Thais and 23 migrant workers, tested positive,” the health officer added.
Health officers have also conducted spot checks in high-risk areas elsewhere in Phuket Town, with officers working into the night. Mass testing of 132 people in the Phoophon Night Plaza area, located outside the lockdown zone, found one new person infected, confirmed the PPHO.
If the general area lockdown is lifted tonight, Phuket City Municipality Fresh Market 1 on Ranong Rd will be allowed to open tomorrow (Aug 18) after the order issued last week for it to close for seven days expires at midnight tonight.
However, under the orders issued so far, the Downtown Market across the road will remain closed through Sunday (Aug 22) and the Phuket City Municipality Fresh Market 2 (near Robinson department store) will remain closed through Friday.