Concern over conflicting Covid tests on Sandbox tourists

Concern over conflicting Covid tests on Sandbox tourists

A couple enjoys a dip in the sea on Tuesday, as Phuket remains open to overseas foreigners who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Photo: Reuters)
A couple enjoys a dip in the sea on Tuesday, as Phuket remains open to overseas foreigners who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Photo: Reuters)

PHUKET: Provincial authorities are concerned that almost half the foreign tourists who have tested positive for Covid-19 since July 1 were detected on arrival at the airport, when they had tested negative before obtaining a certificate of entry allowing them to board their flight.

They have raised the issue with the Foreign Ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, Chalermpong Sukhonthaphol, said on Monday that  provincial officials had consulted the two government agencies over the conflicting test results. 

As of midnight Saturday, 16 tourists have tested positive for Covid-19 since arriving in the sandboxed island province. Seven of them were detected at Phuket airport.

Another tourist was detected with the coronavirus about three days after arrival.

Dr Chalermpong said neither he nor provincial governor Narong Woonciew said that issuing of the certificate of entry (COE) needs to be more strictly controlled. But they did question the high number of conflicting test results for people with a COE who are tested again on arrival.

Phuket opened the door to fully vaccinated tourists from July 1. One of the requirements is to obtain a COE from an embassy or consulate to allow them to board a flight to the island. That requires a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to departure.

A total of 7,462 foreign visitors had arrived in the province as of midnight Saturday, according to official figures. 

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