10,000 tourists from abroad stranded in paradise
SURAT THANI: About 10,000 foreign tourists were left stranded on three islands of this southern province, including about 5,700 on Koh Samui, when passenger flights were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tikamporn Sutti-udomrat, tourism and sports chief of Surat Thani, said yesterday that apart from the 5,700 visitors on Koh Samui, some 3,300 other foreign tourists were on Koh Phangan and about 1,000 on Koh Tao.
“They have accommodation, travel and growing expense problems. I have sought help from the Tourism and Sports Ministry,” he said.
Mr Tikamporn asked local officials and hoteliers to let the foreigners stay until they can leave Surat Thani.
His office arranged accommodation for the foreigners who had urgent problems but they would have to pass health screenings, he said.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s branch on Koh Samui said the Turkish embassy in Thailand has prepared a chartered flight, Turkish Airlines flight THY 6102/59, to repatriate Turkish tourists.
The flight is scheduled to leave Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan at 6pm today.
In Songkhla, two immigration officers at the border checkpoint in Sadao district were reported to have been infected with Covid-19, putting about 70 others at risk, the provincial communicable disease committee said yesterday.
The two new cases, after two weeks with no new infections, brought the provincial tally to 39.
The first of the new infections was detected on Monday - an immigration officer returning from visiting relatives in Pattani.
He was sent to Songkhlanagarind Hospital for treatment.
The second tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday morning and was immediately admitted to hospital.
The first officer had been in close contact with 10 provincial police officers - a lieutenant colonel, three with the rank of captain and six with the rank of senior sergeant major. All 10 had been placed in home isolation for 14 days.
About 60 others at the Sadao immigration checkpoint had also been classified as being at risk. Samples had been taken from them for testing at the hospital.