Thai tourist sneaks out of Phuket quarantine

Thai tourist sneaks out of Phuket quarantine

People enjoy the evening at almost empty Kata beach as Phuket reopens to overseas tourists on July 1, 2021. (Reuters photo)
People enjoy the evening at almost empty Kata beach as Phuket reopens to overseas tourists on July 1, 2021. (Reuters photo)

A Thai female tourist sneaked out of Phuket during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under the "Phuket sandbox".

Koosak Kookiatkul, Phuket Provincial Public Health Office director, said the woman had violated the sandbox rules, as she stayed only nine days in Phuket, before sneaking out of the province by plane to Bangkok and later to Chon Buri.

The office had contacted its Chon Buri counterpart to handle the matter and bring her back to the state quarantine facility in Phuket to serve the rest of her 14-day quarantine period. She was also charged with violation of quarantine regulations.

Phuket also has tightened its border crossings to prohibit anyone who is not yet vaccinated from entering the island. Delivery companies are asking for entry measures to be eased, due to disruptions at the border checkpoint.

The new stricter measures started on Tuesday and will run until Aug 2.

At Phuket's main land entry gateway, the Thachatchai checkpoint, many trucks needed to make a u-turn, as drivers were denied entry to the province, due to lack of a vaccination certificate.

Meanwhile, the seaside resort town of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan has failed to meet its 70% vaccination goal and had to postpone its "Hua Hin Recharge" tourism reopening scheme.

The "Hua Hin Recharge" scheme is Hua Hin's version of the Phuket sandbox, which aims to reopen the city to vaccinated international tourists and had a planned start date of Oct 1.

Phonrawee Seeluangswat, chairwoman of Thailand SMEs Federation and Hua Hin Recharge committee, said Hua Hin has been the priority area for the vaccination campaign, which targeted 100% of workers in the tourism business and service sectors and 70% of Hua Hin's general population by the end of September.

However, Ms Phonrawee said the city is likely to miss its vaccination deadline, because only 10% of Hua Hin locals were already vaccinated.

"We need to keep our eyes on our share of vaccine allocation, whether we will receive 350,000 more doses by the end of August as pledged," she said.

"The main factor that determines whether Hua Hin Recharge will proceed as planned is not the determination of local people to reopen their doors to welcome foreign tourists."

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