Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said the TAT predicted about 129,000 foreign tourist arrivals and 500,000 Thais will visit Phuket between July and September, said a report by state news agency NNT.
“From July 1, Phuket will waive quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under the ‘Phuket Tourism Sandbox’ model. The main goal is to be able to revive the local economy and prevent the spread of the pandemic at the same time. The model is being touted as a model for the reopening of the tourism industry,” said the report.
“Governor Narong added that all parties are speeding up preparations to ensure the reopening proceeds smoothly as planned, stressing that strict disease control measures must remain in place so that the province would not be put in a lockdown again,” the report continued.
According to a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket), Governor Narong yesterday also repeated the main criteria for foreign tourists to be allowed into Phuket.
According to the PR Phuket report, joining Governor Narong for the announcement were Phuket Vice Governors Pichet Panapong and Piyapong Choowong.
The report marked nine criteria for accepting foreign tourists, all of which Governor Narong already announced on Friday, and have been reported previously, and have already been reported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which now appears to be the designated agency for announcing the entry criteria for foreign tourists in English. (See the full list here.)
GAPS IN CHECKING DOMESTIC ARRIVALS
While officials yesterday were focussing on the entry requirements for foreign tourists after July 1, not explained was how a student had returned home to Phuket from Yala, where he attended a school that had shut down due to a COVID cluster outbreak.
With the TAT now expecting 500,000 domestic tourists to come to Phuket from July through September, the checks on domestic arrivals entering the province becomes increasingly important
Under a provincial order issued on June 1, revising the longstanding requirements for domestic arrivals, all domestic travellers with the exception of children under 5 years old entering through any port of entry on Phuket must be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Royal Thai Government or have documentation proving they have tested negative for the virus via a RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test no more than seven days before departing the province where the domestic traveller started their journey to Phuket.
Those who had recovered from COVID-19 no more than 90 days before arriving are also allowed to enter Phuket.
If the above requirements cannot be met the travellers are required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. Where the Disease Control Officer has issued an order to quarantine in the accommodation (Home Quarantine for Phuket residents or Hotel Quarantine for Domestic visitors) the traveller is to be monitored by officers of the Sub-District Center (EOC, Sub-District, municipality, sub-district administrative organisation) throughout the period of quarantine, said the order.
According to the timeline of the student’s movements released by Phuket health officials on Friday, the student had returned from Yala on June 13, but then presented himself at Thalang Hospital the next day for a rapid antigen test for no apparent reason.
According to the timeline of Case 689, the 19-year-old student who lives with his family in Tambon Thepkrasattri in Phuket, received his first vaccination injection on May 22.
From May 23-26, he stayed at home in Tambon Thepkrasattri. On May 27, he travelled to Tahfisul Quran Margkas Yala School in Yala Province, staying one night in Hat Yai en route.
From May 28-June 12, the the student attended classes at Tahfisul Quran Margkas Yala School in Yala Province, said teh timeline, but noting that the school was closed on June 10 after students were confirmed COVID positive.
On June 13, the student travelled back to Phuket. He sat next to the driver. Also in the van were four fellow students, of whom three exited the van in Krabi and one exited the van in Phang Nga.
The student stayed at a house in Thepkrasattri organised by the student’s father. The accommodation was separate from the student’s family home, the timeline reported.
On June 14, the student went to Thalang Hospital for a rapid antigen test, but no rapid tests were available, so he returned home, the report said. The student did not give a reason why he wanted a test, the timeline added.
That same day the student started feeling unwell, with headaches and aches and pains, and learned that his friend who was travelling in the same van as him but who exited the van in Phang Nga had now been confirmed COVID positive in Phang Nga.The father came to stay with the student at the home, but stayed in a separate room, the timeline said.
The next day, June 15, the student went back to Thalang Hospital and told medical staff that he had had close contact with people who had been confirmed as COVID positive. He was given a rapid antigen test, and tested positive, hence medical staff took a swab sample for an RT-PCR test.
On June 16, staff at the hospital confirmed the student was COVID positive, said the timeline, which was released three days later.
Of note, also on Friday, Phuket health officials issued an alert calling for all people who may have had contact with the student to present themselves at the nearest hospital for testing.
The notice was marked, “Urgent!!’
People were advised to call 094-5855321 for more information.