Arrivals to Chiang Mai face checks

Arrivals to Chiang Mai face checks

Officials focus on Samut Sakhon virus spread

Chiang Mai airport
Chiang Mai airport

Health authorities have required people who have been to the epicentre of the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Samut Sakhon to be traceable when they enter Chiang Mai.

People suspected of being infected with Covid-19 and those who visited the central shrimp market in Samut Sakhon, where the outbreak was first detected, must check in on the CM-Chana tracing application when they arrive, said Dr Kittipan Chalom, assistant to Chiang Mai public health office chief.

In addition to the app check-in requirement, arrivals also need to report to public health officers, undergo the RT-PCR coronavirus test and be confined to a designated quarantine facility for 14 days.

The requirement was decided upon at a recent meeting of the Chiang Mai provincial disease transmission committee.

Dr Kittipan said people entering Chiang Mai who came from other parts of Samut Sakhon also must check in on the CM-Chana app.

However, they are not subject to the compulsory RT-PCR testing.

They are urged to self-monitor their health conditions.

Those who visit Chiang Mai from other provinces will need to perform the CM-Chana app check-in and keep watch of their health, he added.

Dr Kittipan argues that Chiang Mai is free from Covid-19 infection and welcomes visitors for the New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, tourism businesses have taken a battering from the virus scare in Phetchabun and Nakhon Ratchasima.

New Year bookings were down at several resorts in the popular mountain-top Phu Thap Boek in the wake of a news report about a Covid 19-infected woman having spent time in one of the resorts there.

A local source said many people have called off their plans to stay at the resorts for the New Year celebration.

The resort where the infected woman reportedly spent the night was also being criticised by local communities.

The source added news reports have dealt a heavy blow to local tourism operators reeling from the Covid-19 crisis.

The operators counted on the New Year holiday to generate much-needed income.

Local health officials have disinfected accommodation and shops in tourist areas.

Those suspected of having contracted the virus are undergoing quarantine.

The source said some owners of resorts at Phu Thap Boek have been hit with a substantial drop in reservations beyond the New Year.

"The survival of the local tourism business is being tested hard," the source said.

"There is no telling when the [pre-Covid] tourism situation will return."

Similarly sharp downturn in bookings are also being experienced by resorts in Wang Nam Khieo district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The Covid-19 resurgence is blamed for a 50% drop in resort and hotel bookings in the district, said Pongthep Malachasing, president of the Wang Nam Khieo Tourism Promotion Association.

He said he felt sorry for the businesses which have suffered major financial losses for months during the lockdown earlier this year.

"Just when they thought they could shore up some of the lost revenue during the high tourism season, they found themselves encountering an unexpected crisis," he said, estimating cancelled bookings to be worth at least 200 million baht.

Meanwhile, the growing concern about Covid-19 has cost the state-run Transport Co Ltd more than 700,000 baht in cancelled bus tickets for New Year travels, the company said.

The cancellation started at the beginning of the month when a resurgence of local Covid-19 transmissions were reported, according to Manoch Saichuto, acting president of Transport Co Ltd.

The cancelled tickets have mostly affected trips to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai where new rounds of local virus infections were first detected.

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