Exhaustive checks for Phuket arrivals
Extra scrutiny of high-risk visitors
Phuket: Authorities on Thursday began screening people wanting to enter the resort island as part of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Provincial governor Narong Woonciew inspected the screening process at the Tha Chatchai checkpoint, the main point of entry by land, where authorities are stopping every vehicle.
That operation will continue until the end of the month.
Mr Narong said there were some problems in the early stages of the operation but reinforcements from the police and local authorities helped smooth the workflow.
People arriving from the 18 provinces designated red ("maximum control") zones must prove they have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have a Covid-free certificate following an RT-PCR test, issued within 72 hours of arriving.
Those who have not received two doses of the vaccine or have yet to have the RT-PCR Covid-19 test will be required to take an antigen rapid test upon arrival, Mr Narong said.
The test is free of charge for Thais as the National Health Security Office has absorbed the costs but foreigners must pay 500 baht, the governor said.
To take an antigen rapid test, visitors must get out of their vehicles and use their ID cards to register, then receive a nasal swab test and wait for the result; the process takes about 45 minutes.
If the result comes back negative, they will receive a Covid-free certificate valid for 72 hours. They then will be required to download the "Mor Chana'' mobile tracking app and register on www.gophuket.com before receiving a sticker from authorities.
The screening process also applies to visitors who arrive via Phuket airport, Mr Narong said.
He went on to say that about 10,000 people had visited Phuket every day during Songkran but the number had since dropped to about 3,000 a day as a result of the latest pandemic restrictions.
Those arriving from provinces designated orange ("control") zones will have a body temperature check, must download the Mor Chana app, share their GPS location throughout their stay and register on www.gophuket.com, said the governor.
When they reach their final destination on the island, they are required to report to local officials and follow disease control measures strictly, he said.
The island has now logged more than 250 new infections since Thailand's third wave began.