Public health inspector Dr Pitakpol Boonyamalik, who oversees the 11th Health Area of Thailand delivered the news during an online conference for health officials in the southern region yesterday (Apr 14), reports the Bangkok Post.
"The number of new COVID-19 infections in this health region continues to soar by the day. I must propose that the provincial communicable disease control committee of Phuket, in particular, considers locking down the province after Songkran in order to contain the outbreak situation there," Dr Pitakpol said.
The 11th Health Area of Thailand covers Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Ranong.
In July, Phuket will be the first province to waive the quarantine requirement for vaccinated foreign visitors, as part of the government’s plan to reopen the country.
Dr Pitakpol said that despite the cases in the southern region being relatively low, with none listed in a high-risk zone, the situation is still worrying.
“Many of our current patients did not have a history of travelling into the outbreak zones before, which points to the possibility that they could have contracted the virus from people who were quarantining at home or people who were deliberately concealing their travel history,” said the doctor.
Meanwhile, retailers and malls nationwide have been asked to close earlier at 9pm, following the private sector’s most recent bid to help curb the country’s third COVID-19 outbreak.
Yol Phokasub, president of Thai Retailers Association (TRA), yesterday said that the TRA and Thai Shopping Centre Association (TSCA) jointly announced to their members and trade partners nationwide that they must maximise their COVID-19 screening measures.
Both associations asked their members to close earlier at 9pm, starting from today (Apr 15) and until further notice.
These businesses are also being advised to suspend all activities that would involve gatherings of large numbers of people. They are further being advised to have their staff work from home as much as possible, said Mr Yol.
He said the two associations hope their move will lead to more action by the private sector in supporting the country’s work to contain COVID-19 and ending the latest wave of the outbreak as soon as possible.