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Soldiers to man checkpoint onto Phuket

PHUKET: Soldiers from the Royal Thai Army will be called in to help conduct checks of people arriving or departing the island through the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 15 July 2021, 01:19PM

The move was confirmed at a meeting of Phuket Communicable Disease Committee held at the EOC Command Center chaired by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday (July 14), said a report by the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO).

Also present were Phukt Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong and key island health officials PPHO Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon  and Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town, the main government hospital on the island.

At the meeting it was agreed to have soldiers from the 41st Military Circle stationed at the checkpoint for three months, possibly even longer through rotation.

However, it was made clear that any soldier used to support officers at the checkpoint must be vaccinated, test negative for COVID-19 and be on Phuket at least 14 days before being assigned to man the checkpoint.

The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command based at Cape Panwa had already been tasked to oversee checks at the three main ports (Ao Por Pier, Chalong Pier and Rassada Pier) and five yacht mooring areas in Phuket.

The Navy was also already patrolling the waters around the island in three zones, noted the report. Larger vessels are used to patrol the outside zone; the middle zone is patrolled for checking “precarious points”; and the inner area involves checks at risk locations such as fishing rafts and various water channels.

At the meeting it was revealed that on average 432 people a day had been refused to be allowed onto the island for failing to satisfy the requirements.

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The number of people arriving to enter Phuket already had been falling due to the entry requirements, and is expected to fall further due to the higher restrictions for people arriving from 34 provinces that come into effect today (July 15),  the meeting noted.

Other measures agreed to help ramp up COVID prevention measures included random inspections conducted on venues regardless of whether the location has been associated with known infections, despite PPHO officials already announcing that they will inspect businesses, shops, schools, mosques and shopping malls until the end of the month.

The meeting was updated on the number of hospital beds available on the island. At present, there are 640 beds available for all types of patients. Of those, 109 beds are occupied, and the remaining 531 beds remain free. Of note, the PPHO as of yesterday (July 14) marked that 76 people were under hospital care or supervision for COVID-19.

The meeting also noted that of 5,156 international arrivals who had entered Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, 858 were Thai nationals. Of those 14 returned as high-risk contacts.

As of yesterday, the meeting noted that there were seven Phuket Sandbox arrivals who had tested positive for COVID-19. All seven were in local quarantine and waiting for results of a second test.

Governor Narong asked all relevant officials to continue to provide regular reports “to support the information aspects of Phuket Sandbox.” That included how many people had arrived under the Phuket Sandbox scheme and how many people left early before observing their 14 days on the island.

The meeting was also told that more vaccination doses had been allocated to Phuket by the Ministry of Public Health, with vaccination injections to resume tomorrow (July 16).

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Capricornball | 16 July 2021 - 09:55:58

This is testimony to the fact that all levels of gov't recognize that police are incompetent and utterly corrupt and cannot be trusted to perform their jobs. RTP should be gutted from the top down and replaced by military police until a thorough restructuring of the RTP is completed. This place actually needs an international UN-style police force.

Kurt | 16 July 2021 - 00:48:50

@ Foot, it was handled by local personnel.  Obviously it was not water tight as travelers could buy their way into Phuket. That local personnel had the earning time of their life. Not that good as at higher levels, but still. That is finished now. And, we are used to military presence/control all over Thailand in every aspect of life. Just watch daily Thai  news tv, channels 1-2-3, at 20.00 hrs.

Foot | 15 July 2021 - 14:10:55

Why can't all this be handled by the local personnel?  Will the "Amazing Thailand" advertisements show the presence of the military?


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