TAT backs Phuket quarantine
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TAT backs Phuket quarantine

Possibility of isolation part of the rules

The clock tower in Phuket's old town is illuminated during the reopening of the island under the sandbox scheme.
The clock tower in Phuket's old town is illuminated during the reopening of the island under the sandbox scheme.

A total of 13 tourists who just arrived in Phuket asked to return home after boarding the same inbound flight with a traveller who tested positive for Covid-19.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is telling travellers to acknowledge the risk of quarantine measures upon arrival, in accordance with provincial rules.

"All of them agreed to return home as the provincial health authority allowed them to depart since last night. We're considering rewarding them with special privileges if they plan to revisit Thailand in the future," said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT.

The Phuket sandbox scheme confirmed the first Covid-19 case from an inoculated tourist arriving on July 6.

The patient was sent to the hospital for treatment, while 13 passengers on the same flight from Dubai were identified as a high-risk group and transferred to an alternative local quarantine facility.

Mr Yuthasak said travellers in the sandbox scheme already acknowledge the possibility of a 14-day quarantine if they are determined to be a high-risk group, according to the certificate of entry application process.

Phuket's screening measures need to be strictly maintained to assure the highest level of health and safety on the island, he said.

Mr Yuthasak said all travellers choosing to return should receive full refunds from hotels, including costs for Covid-19 tests.

As of Thursday, the Phuket sandbox received 2,524 tourists, with one testing positive, while 475 guests passed a second test with a negative result.

Hotel bookings from July to September increased to 143,025 room nights, he said.

Some 90% of bookings are in July (130,113 room nights), followed by August (11,623) and September (1,289).

Mr Yuthasak said the new lockdown announced for certain areas will not affect the Phuket sandbox as the province is excluded.

He said the lockdown could have a short-term effect on domestic tourism, but if these measures help curb the soaring infection rate over 14 days, the controls will have a positive effect in the long run, benefiting local tourism activities and stimulus measures.

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