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Scathing Phuket hospitel report spurs action

Scathing Phuket hospitel report spurs action

PHUKET: Phuket officials have launched a public relations offensive after a scathing report about the state of the Hotel Isolation quarantine in effect in Phuket was published by journalist Jonathan Miller, famous for being the first foreign correspondent to interview King Vajiralongkorn after he was crowned King of Thailand.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 27 January 2022, 10:00AM

The report, published by the Sunday Times last Saturday (Jan 22), gave a detailed description of the experience tourists are subjected to after being ordered to quarantine in a “hospitel”.

“Living like a prisoner who pays for himself,” Mr Miller wrote.

Impromptu parties were organised at the three-star hotel, which Mr Miller said had long been closed before being hastily reopened to serve as a quarantine facility.

None of the tourists at the hospitel wore masks, Mr Miller reported.

He also gave a critical report on the quality of care provided at the hospital where he stayed after he contracted COVID-19 while staying at the hospitel.

Even under the supervision of the Phuket Provincial Hospital and the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the standard of health care and quality of life of those infected who were quarantined is quite poor, he wrote.

Mr Miller tested negative for COVID-19 on landing in Phuket, arriving for the New Year holidays, but was declared a high-risk contact after his female partner tested positive.

The hospitel he chose presented his “least-bad option”.

“Back then I wasn’t to know that I was stepping out of the blistering Siamese sunshine into a Kafkaesque parallel universe,” he wrote.


Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday led a press conference broadcast live online to assure tourists that “all the bugs in the hotel quarantine system” have been resolved and that Phuket was ready to welcome tourists.

The announcement yesterday came just six days before the Test & Go scheme is to resume (on Feb 1), allowing vaccinated tourists from selected countries to enter Thailand without quarantine if they test negative for the virus on arrival.

Governor Narong yesterday was joined by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri and Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of the Phuket Tourist Association. Along for the ride was Dr Weerasak Lorthongkham, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Of note, while the aim of the press conference was to assure tourists that Phuket was ready to welcome tourists, the press conference was held in Thai.

After learning of “negative news” about the treatment of foreign tourists at hospitels and hospitals, a team of officials was dispatched to investigate the claims, Governor Narong said.

The aim was to use the “crisis as an opportunity”, he said.

“We are ready to improve and correct the defects. At the same time, if any information is incorrect It has been clarified for the public to be informed. by the province itself. I’m ready to do everything better in the part of Phuket,” he said.

With registration under the Test & Go entry scheme to resume on Feb 1, officials expect the number of tourists arriving in Phuket to increase with each passing day, Governor Narong noted.

“We guarantee that tourists can have confidence in the management of Phuket,” he said.

C and C Marine


Tourists who test positive but are designated ‘Green’ patients will still have to observe quarantine at a hospital or hospitel, Ms Nanthasiri noted.

“Green group asymptomatic tourists do not need to be hospitalised. They are able to choose to be treated at a hospitel, which will take care of tourists in a relaxed manner,” she added.

However, tourists at hospitels will no longer be required to remain confined to their rooms, Ms Nanthasiri revealed.

“They can come out of the room to walk, exercise or go to eat. This is considered a relaxing activity under the measures set by the Ministry of Public Health,” she said.

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand, together with the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, contracted hospitals and related agencies will pay closer attention to the measures being enforced and lay down strict guidelines for tourists and the hospitel operators to follow,” she added.

“From now on, more measures will be put in place to take better care of tourists, to have the same practice in terms of defining activities and duration of activities,” Ms Nanthasiri said.


Mr Bhummikitti recognised the issue of hotels not accepting tourists who test positive for COVID after arriving in Phuket.

“Most of them are ‘Green’ patients, whose symptoms are not worrying. The Hotel Room Isolation system is asking for cooperation from hotels to accept tourists,” he said.

“The hotels will be able to allocate areas that are specific areas for caring for tourists who are asymptomatic or have minor symptoms,” he added.

Mr Bhummikitti claimed that the party reported in the Sunday Times article was not a party.

“The picture that came out of tourists who came out to do activities was not a party,” he said.

“Tourists staying in their rooms for long durations causes stress. It was an activity to allow tourists to relax. What the tourists did was up to them,” he said.

“Regarding the internet TV being out of order or the pool not being clean, this is a matter for that particular hotel and does not apply to all hotels,” Mr Bhummikitti added.

“Regardless, the Phuket Tourist Association will contact the contracted hospital with this hotel in order for the hotel to improve [its facilities and services] because whether it is a journalist or an ordinary person, I would not want to be in such conditions,” Mr Bhummikitti said plainly.

“These hotel basics facilitate the quality of service. In this regard, the Phuket Tourist Association understands and accepts the comments in order to make improvements.

“Finally, I would like to leave a message to tourists: no matter where you travel,  to Phuket, to Bangkok, or abroad, being careful is the best thing. As for Phuket, you are welcome to come and we will do our best to provide the best impression for both Thai and foreign tourists traveling to Phuket,” Mr Bhummikitti concluded.

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Kurt | 27 January 2022 - 11:50:13

...white light restaurants, and must renew permits for the silly reason the alcohol time window goes from 9 to 11 pm. What cost this dumb bureaucratic renewing the 'restaurant owners' who already given up their color lighting.? hehehe.  All just funny kindergarten money-money scam thinking. What a bag of nonsense. Officialdom will never give up Covid-19 time. To nice for them.

Kurt | 27 January 2022 - 11:44:07

Very good  famous journalist Jonathan Miller shines his view about the sloppy nonsense Phuket hospitel situation in international press, expressing about what is not rising above just being  a financial scam . Imagine, not even wearing face masks there? Governor should put his energy fully on this matter instead of occupy  himself with bar, pubs, who are already licenced white light restaurants ..

Fascinated | 27 January 2022 - 11:35:34

Cue inbound 'defamation' charges for the Sunday Times exposing the truth. The whole thing is just another racket..

lelecuneo | 27 January 2022 - 10:58:41

most of those hospitel do not even have proper hotel licence.... that a fact...

lelecuneo | 27 January 2022 - 10:58:07

thos hospitel are all local run businesses, therefore they all are holes and crappy places....there is no one decent Thai run place in the island and all international chain hotel are refusing to participate into this programm, so yeah many tourist that stay at 5 star resort and get positive they will face 2 weeks on a low end hostel..lol... TAT the usual bla bla bla..


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