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Roll with it: Prab Keesin calls for realistic policy for keeping Patong alive

Roll with it: Prab Keesin calls for realistic policy for keeping Patong alive

PHUKET: Patong businessman Preechavude ‘Prab’ Keesin, Chairman of Pisona Group and Chief of the Patong Development Foundation, has called for a realistic approach to the current outbreak, with infected people isolated and uninfected staff allowed to keep businesses open.

By Chutharat Plerin

Thursday 13 January 2022, 03:13PM

Keeping bars open while strictly abiding by COVID-prevention measures is crucial, says Patong businessman Prab Keesin. Photo: The Phuket News

Keeping bars open while strictly abiding by COVID-prevention measures is crucial, says Patong businessman Prab Keesin. Photo: The Phuket News

“We would like people who haven’t been infected with COVID-19 to go to work, while those who are infected must be quarantined and treated following steps,” Mr Prab told The Phuket News sister-newspaper Khao Phuket in an exclusive interview.

The Patong business sector and the local community have rallied together to establish free ATK checkpoints and provide affordable antigen test kits (ATKs) to help alleviate the expenses Patong people face in the repeated testing required just so they can go to work, he said.

“We have daily tests so infections don’t spread. We sell test kits at an initial price of B40, which we have bought for B40-49 per set. The price depends on each lot. If the person has no money to spare, we will provide the test for free,” he added.

“At the moment, we are still accepting tourists, so we have to live with COVID-19,” Mr Prab continued.

“We have to open and close businesses sometimes in this situation. We have to take care of ourselves," he said.

“Importantly, we must know what to do when an employee or business operator is infected,” he added.

“Of course, a wide variety of COVID-19 variants will come. So we must adapt and learn to live with it because, while we may not die from COVID-19 , we may die from economic catastrophe,” Mr Prab said.

Mr Prab warned of the consequences of people not following the COVID-prevention measures.

“Even though we are currently entering our fifth outbreak, we are still at least one step behind the Omicron strain,” he said.

"While the symptoms of being infected with Omicron are much less severe than that of Delta, it has an impact on our lives and businesses.” he said.

“As a result, the government may have to reduce service times [the hours a business may be allowed open], it may order some closures, or it may even order lockdowns inside the country, and suspend economic activities if the situation worsens," he warned.

“We can’t stop Omicron, but now we know better how to stay with COVID-19 each day, and reduce the burden on the public health system,” Mr Prab noted.

“People have learned to protect themselves and what to do when they learn they are infected with COVID-19. They now know that they can quarantine at home, at a community isolation centre, or at a hotel, unlike before, when everyone had to go to a hospital,” he said.

“We now have ATKs, but we still have a shortage of medicines and vaccines that aren’t as easy to import as ATKs. As a result, we must continue to improve," he added.

Mr Prab’s call for a united stand to counter the spread of infections while keeping Patong businesses alive comes as Phuket officials, through the police, are now enforcing a 9pm shutdown of all licensed venues to ensure that alcohol is not served or consumed on the premises.

The move came into effect last Sunday, in line with a national order issued by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok last Friday.

One Patong bar owner explained to The Phuket News that keeping the nightlife venues on Bangla Rd open was vital, not only for the tourism industry, but also for the staff dependent on the income from working.

“People forget that Thailand has no income support for the unemployed. These people need these jobs,” he said.

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lelecuneo | 15 January 2022 - 08:20:18

they are all just crook and prab now is campaining as he like to be the next mayor, like he passed father was...

Kurt | 14 January 2022 - 10:22:55

There is something to say for opinion of the PEBA chairman. Point is, how to keep the not working infected staff isolated from the non infected staff in their free time? They all share rooms in which is 'going in isolation' not possible. Get staff not infected when they work, than they get infected in their rooms from their infected room mates. How they tackle that problem?

JohnC | 14 January 2022 - 08:52:17

["People forget that Thailand has no income support for the unemployed..."] Thailand has no support of any kind for anyone outside the priviledged purple circle. If you are among the 95% of plebs that they steal and cheat on a daily basis then you have no government support what-so-ever.

Capricornball | 13 January 2022 - 23:39:01

Now we have the vice peddler of Patong trying to dictate the appropriate Covid policy.  But hey... why not?  Seems all the other policy makers have no training, expertise or experience either.  Now, it seems all parties are kind of in agreement that the most important thing is to get more Russians here and keep the bars full and hookers busy.  Heaven help Thailand.

maverick | 13 January 2022 - 20:25:20

@lelecuneo might be worth staying away from Bangla for a while I am sure some wise heads on this forum will let you know when it is safe to return 

lelecuneo | 13 January 2022 - 16:08:37

Oh dear me... now we must worry of the few banglar workers re; prostitutes and pimps to the expense of the whole island? and the  public tip off of police not enforcing a law is the essence of the Thai way of doing should post on the bkk post too and


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