Phuket eyes July reopening

Phuket eyes July reopening

Next round of shots kicks off May 18

Phuket plans to start its next round of vaccinations from May 18, expecting to finish next month so the resort province can welcome back international tourists on July 1.

Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital Chalermphong Sukontapol said on Wednesday the province had been allocated 200,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from the Public Health Ministry for mass vaccination set to start from next Tuesday.

From early May to June, the second doses of Sinovac and 140,000 doses of AstraZeneca will be given to the public. The AstraZeneca doses will be given to older people and people with chronic diseases, he said.

"Some 460,000 people will be vaccinated before the last week of June to create herd immunity before Phuket reopens to foreign tourists on July 1," said the doctor.

On Covid-19 patients in the province, Dr Chalermphong said the hospital inpatient bed occupancy rate was rather high but the number of patients was still manageable.

He also warned that the third wave of the virus could cause more severe symptoms.

Some 192 Covid-19 patients are receiving treatment at hospitals in Phuket. Some 119 have mild symptoms and 28 severe symptoms. Some 11 have moderate symptoms, 22 have pneumonia and 12 severe lung problems.

Three are being treated in ICU in Vachira Phuket Hospital. All three ICU patients are older than 70, he said.

Narong Woonciew, the governor of Phuket, said most confirmed cases in Phuket had links to entertainment outlets and warned that if the number of daily infections continues at the current rate, the planned reopening might not happen.

Chief of the provincial public health department Kusak Kukiatkul expressed his concern over the Covid-19 situation in Phuket as the number of new cases was rising every day and new clusters keep emerging.

"People still gather and party,'' he said.

In Pattaya, city hall has called an urgent meeting on vaccination sites. Some 30,000 Sinovac vaccine doses will be given to people in the entertainment and hospitality sectors by mid-June.

Deputy mayor of Pattaya, Manote Nongyai, said Covid-19 vaccinations for 30,000 people would be completed over three days at three vaccination sites at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Pattaya City Hospital and an indoor stadium.

Some 1,400 people in Na Kluea and northern Pattaya areas will be inoculated at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital; some 1,000 people in central Pattaya and nearby areas including Koh Lan will receive their first dose at Pattaya City Hospital, and 5,000 people in other areas at the indoor stadium.

There will be two other vaccination sites where 6,000 people will be inoculated per day, said the deputy mayor.

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