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Sandbox at risk of collapse after infections surge

Sandbox at risk of collapse after infections surge

PHUKET: Local tourism organisations have called for strict COVID-19 curbs to be relaxed to help with a quick recovery despite authorities struggling under the weight of a new surge of up to 200 infections a day.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 30 August 2021, 09:12AM

Sarayuth Mallam, chief adviser to the Phuket Tourism Council, said that if the island is put under a two-month lockdown, it could spell doom for the Phuket Sandbox scheme. Photo: PR Phuket

Sarayuth Mallam, chief adviser to the Phuket Tourism Council, said that if the island is put under a two-month lockdown, it could spell doom for the Phuket Sandbox scheme. Photo: PR Phuket

Thanet Tantipiriyakit, president of the Phuket Tourism Council, said the latest cases were not caused by tourists but by local activities, reports the Bangkok Post.

Disease control measures should be eased to allow visitors who are fully vaccinated and pass swab tests to enter the province to boost economic recovery, he said.

Chernporn Kanchanasaya, president of the Federation of Thai Industries’ Phuket Chapter, said September will be a pivotal month. It is essential to vaccinate as many local residents as possible to shield them from the virus.

She also said the Digital Economy Promotion Agency is expected to set up smart checkpoints to screen visitors in October.

“The best measures must be put in place before people are allowed to enter Phuket,’” she said.

Sarayuth Mallam, chief adviser to the Phuket Tourism Council, said that if the island is put under a two-month lockdown, it could spell doom for the Phuket Sandbox scheme.

“Foreign consuls have said foreign visitors already feel deceived having arrived in Phuket. If the province is locked down again, no visitors will come at all,” Mr Sarayuth said.

“Tourists from Bangkok and Europe will disappear during the high season. We need to strike a balance to coexist with COVID,” he added.

Tourists from Europe want to dine and have a beer and wine together, but right now they cannot do anything. Many have said they have felt cheated for three months now.

“If Phuket was not ready, then why reopen? Without an easing of the curbs, all will be ruined,’” Mr Sarayuth said.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said local authorities are stepping up efforts to contain the surge of infections as quickly as possible. Many of the new cases were detected using antigen test kits, whose results were confirmed again for accuracy by RT-PCR, he said.

Transmissions have increased among residents and migrant workers, he added.

With the spikes in local infections, the prospects for the Phuket Sandbox scheme may look dimmer now than when it first started, he said.

“We have to do everything we can to get through this difficult situation and hope case numbers will slow down.

“We have to join forces and move forward. This is a life-and-death situation for the future of Phuket Sandbox,’” the governor said.

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PJ | 01 September 2021 - 10:49:39

@PAsh .. I can only assume you didn’t venture out of your hotel because you’d be hard pressed to find an outside restaurant that
Isn’t serving alcohol 

PJ | 01 September 2021 - 10:46:24

@ Stickler1234.  Wrong. Thailand is now ranked 132 but 99.5% of deaths have occurred in last 5 months. Thai current daily Death rate to total Population is now equal to or higher than most other countries 

Stickler1234 | 30 August 2021 - 19:00:23

The Thai death rate from COVID per head of population is about 4th LOWEST in the WORLD per JHU. And yet Thailand imposes disastrous restrictions. Is this panic or what?

PAsh | 30 August 2021 - 17:30:38

Well I had two weeks at the end of Juky begining of August and left early. Yes I felt cheated. Of course Phuket is NOT open for tourists it just lets some in and then treats them like children. How can wearing a mask on an empty beach stop COVID ? How can not being able to have a glass of wine with your meal stop covid ? The measures are rediculous. 

Foot | 30 August 2021 - 16:24:59

Again people, understand that COVID is not going to improve whenthe vaccine used (Sinovac) is only 51% effective and it's the one used for Thais who work in Phuket. If you speak with 2 Thais, odds are 1 is vulnerable to have, or get, COVID.  Face reality.

CaptainJack69 | 30 August 2021 - 13:01:14

They're coming from places where life is back to normal. Hotels, Bars & restaurants are all open, public evets go on as usual, people leave their face masks at home. They arrive here and find everything closed and endless restrictions put on what they can actually do. And now they're going to have to do expensive quarantine when they go home. Yeah, the Sandbox is in trouble.

Fascinated | 30 August 2021 - 11:31:35

Cases increasing and calls for curbs to be relaxed- classic short-termish. The Sandbox is dead on its feet and there is not going to be any semblance of a 'High Season' this year- they need to stop kidding themselves. As for the Russians- with the highest numbers of cases in Europe at the moment good luck with that one. Personally I expect most domestic flights will not start til end Sept ...

jurgphuket | 30 August 2021 - 11:20:04

They try to stop the tourism completely. No life, no beer, but quarantine jail und expensive tests. Even houseowners can not go in their property without quarantine. This way is the death of Phukets tourism industry.

Kurt | 30 August 2021 - 11:02:18

To use Phuket as a 'entrance-sieve' for whole Thailand is a plain business story. ( SHA hotels) Even a Minister who went from Bangkok to Tokyo for Opening Games came back via Phuket instead of direct return to Bangkok. All this is unneeded risk of Covid spreading. It doesn't contribute in Covid fighting on Phuket, only money making happiness for a few.

maverick | 30 August 2021 - 09:51:26

So from where does the 2 month lockdown come from ? Or does this only refer to domestic tourists? The prospect of any semblance of a high season is fading slowly, but the Russians are coming 


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