Posts Tagged ‘Phuket news’

The COVID-19 Sandbox Plan in Phuket Could Be Suspended Soon

July 28, 2021

Thailand’s first tourism hotspot to waive quarantine for vaccinated foreign visitors is facing a spike in COVID-19 cases, which could endanger the experiment seen as a model for other tourism-dependent nations to open their borders.
During the week ending July 27, 2921, the resort island reported 125 new Covid-19 cases, higher than the government’s threshold of 90 cases that could trigger a temporary suspension of the program. Local authorities closed public schools and shopping malls and banned gatherings of more than 100 people recently in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Local residents accounted for the majority of new infections, and all high-risk contacts on the island have been isolated to prevent further spread, officials said. Since the so-called Phuket Sandbox was launched on July 1, 2021, only 26 vaccinated visitors have tested positive for the virus out of more than 11,800.
Covid resurgence in Phuket mirrors the situation elsewhere in Thailand and Southeast Asia, where authorities are struggling to contain the outbreak fuelled by the more contagious delta variant. A setback to the quarantine-free travel in Phuket could jeopardize the government’s plan to expand the model to more islands and beach resorts to save the tourism industry.
As authorities are watching for more signs of infection spread, it may still be too early to suspend the Phuket model. Official data show that 70% of Phuket’s population is fully immunized, compared to about 5% nationally.
“We are entering a tightening mode and reducing local activities on the island, but we have several circuit breakers in place before the reopening program is suspended,” said Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, president of the Tourism Council of Phuket. Currently, we are assessing the situation day-by-day and week-by-week with the surge in infections.
After the emergence of the third wave of Covid infections in early April, the country has seen an unprecedented surge of Covid infections and deaths. Thailand’s key economic centers, including Bangkok, have been subjected to strict restrictions on inter-provincial travel and on most business activities.
In addition to the 90 weekly-case limit, other triggers for Phuket Sandbox suspension include detection of infections in all three districts on the island or more than six sub-districts; identification of more than three clusters; and the use of 80% of hospital capacity.
According to Thaneth, authorities will restrict travel routes or impose a temporary ban on tourists leaving hotels before considering a full suspension. In the coming days, officials will review the situation and decide if additional tightening measures are needed, he said.

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Phuket Is Getting HIt Hard By COVID-19

May 6, 2021

According to an epidemiologist at Phuket’s main government hospital, Vachira Phuket Hospital, there could be a shortage of ICU beds soon.
A live press conference was held by the governor of Phuket this morning where the doctor explained that with the spread of the B.117 variant, which is more contagious, the number of beds will increase rapidly as infection numbers rise across the province.
One-third of infections in COVID-19 in Phuket have pneumonia symptoms, while only 10% of patients have severe symptoms (light pneumonia) while 30% have light signs (no pneumonia), and 50% have no signs at all. Still, the health care system may be overwhelmed with even 10% of cases.
At the government hospital, there are 200 beds available, but only 19 ICU beds for severe cases. ICU beds are already half full and the number of pneumonia patients who may need those beds soon is growing rapidly. A bed occupancy of 80 percent is a critical situation in the ICU.
Experts warn that Phuket must slash the number of new infections immediately to avoid an ICU bed shortage catastrophe.
Health officials will expand proactive screening to other at-risk areas, including Rawai, Cherng Talay, and Mai Khao, and hope that proactive screening will be more effective than asking people to take self quarantines for 14 days.
Currently, Phuket has received 476 people for Covid-19, and all but 1 are from the province. 253 have been discharged from the hospital, and the remaining patients are spread between seven hospitals, while an additional 73 are receiving treatment at field hospitals.
Recently, outbreaks have spread to different locations, like The Town of Phuket, Cherng Talay, Wichit, and Rassada currently marked as hotspots.
The government is encouraging people to call 191 to report areas that may have many infections. The governor promised that medical staff would then provide proactive testing and treat those with Covid-19 already to slow the spread of the disease and prevent an ICU bed shortage in Phuket.

Here are the latest figures for infections around Phuket:

Wichit ‒ 48 infections
Patong ‒ 45
Phuket Town 44 (Talad Yai 27, Talad Neua 17)
Rassada ‒ 44
Cherng Talay ‒ 43
Kathu ‒ 38
Chalong ‒ 34
Kamala ‒ 32
Srisoonthorn ‒ 29
Rawai ‒ 26
Thepkrasattri ‒ 19
Koh Kaew ‒ 13
Pa Khlok ‒ 10
Mai Khao ‒ 8
Sakhu ‒ 8
Karon ‒ 7

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Thai Bits: COVID-19 Is Going to Hurt Economy in 2021, A COVID-19 Test Story in Phuket

May 3, 2021

COVID-19 is not just bad for Thais, it is bad for the Thai economy as well.
In recent months, the economic forecast for Thailand has been lowered to 2.3 percent as the outlook for tourism remains really poor as Thailand is experiencing a COVID-19 third wave.
The Thai Ministry of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Office forecast a 4.5 percent economic growth in 2021. This was partly based on the fact that COVID-19 appears to be weakening.
2.4 percent. In May 2021, it has dropped to 2.3 percent. By January 2021, the second wave had hit Thailand and the Ministry changed its predictions to 2.8 percent.
The Thai economic forecast assumes the Thai government will propose a stimulus package between May 2021 and the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
According to the Finance Ministry, there is the hope of an economic recovery in the fourth quarter of the year. This could mean Thailand ends the year 2021 with 2.8 percent growth.
During the first two waves, Thailand did relatively well. However, the third wave has infected many more people in Thailand and the vaccine rollout has been slow. A positive effect from the global economic recovery is being undermined by COVID-19. The Thai economy may lose 100 million Thai baht per month for the rest of 2021.
Thai exports declined by 6.6 percent in 2020. The thriving export sector could achieve as high as 11 percent in 2021.
As much as 12 percent of the Thai economy comes from tourism in a mon-COVID-19 year. Tourism brought in 2 trillion baht in 2019. In 2020, there were delays in reopening to tourists on a large scale.
In total, 6.7 million tourists had arrived in Thailand by 2020. This caused a drastic 83 percent drop in tourism revenue in 2020. The only good thing was that a lot of Chinese tourists came.
At the time when they were more optimistic, they had more plans to open Phuket and tourist spots by July 1st, with Thailand fully open in October. Those plans were dashed by the new pandemic outbreak and tourist projections of two million had been revised downward. This could be a serious blow to the economy.

A Phuket COVID-19 Test Story

Just a heads up for people.
Yesterday we entered Phuket with our family and had to do a rapid Covid19 test. My son (10 years old Dutch/Thai passport holder) also had to do the test.
As expected they charged me 500 Baht but ALSO wanted to charge my son 500 Baht. The reasoning was that he had an English name and didn’t had a Thai ID card (he only has a Thai passport). After about a good 15 minutes of back and forth, they decided they were not going to charge my Thai son. However, it was a very unpleasant experience.
So a heads up for ex-pats with half children, expect some problems if they don’t have their Thai ID card.
Stay safe!

By Tobie Oud