Vaccination reducing severity of Phuket Covid cases, health chief says

Vaccination reducing severity of Phuket Covid cases, health chief says

Dr Koosak Kookiatkul, right, the Phuket health chief, and Phuket governor Narong Woonciew during their press conference at Phuket provincial hall on Friday. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Dr Koosak Kookiatkul, right, the Phuket health chief, and Phuket governor Narong Woonciew during their press conference at Phuket provincial hall on Friday. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: The number of Covid-19 patients had risen since the island province reopened to foreign visitors under the Phuket Sandbox project, but mass vaccination had limited the severity of their symptoms, according to the provincial health chief.

Dr Koosak Kookiatkul said on Friday that since May 15 there had been 4-5 new Covid-19 cases a day in Phuket.

"When the sandbox started, people also arrived for work and business purposes, to welcome foreign visitors. Then there were 25 cases in the first week, 48 cases in the second week, 69 cases in the third week and 185 cases this week," Dr Koosak said during a media briefing.

The Phuket Sandbox began on July 1.

There were local infections that were spreading and there were infections of Covid-19's Delta variant, which was more readily transmitted than the Alpha variant, he said.

Covid-19 cases were also increasing among foreign visitors, although they had passed Covid-19 tests before arrival, Dr Koosak said.

There were 694 hospital beds in Phuket and 36% of them were occupied. There were 33 intensive care units and 16 of them were occupied. Two Covid-19 patients were dependent on high-flow nasal oxygen, he said.

"There are few severely ill cases because more than 70% of people in Phuket have been vaccinated," Dr Koosak said.

On Thursday Phuket governor Narong Woonciew ordered the entire island sealed off, with travellers from other provinces not allowed to enter from Aug 3 to 16, in a bid to control the disease. 

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