Phuket to establish third field hospital

Phuket to establish third field hospital

Tourist island posts 86 new Covid cases

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew
Phuket governor Narong Woonciew

Phuket will establish a third field hospital at the site of the former provincial prison to cope with the rising number of Covid-19 patients on the tourist island.

The Provincial Public Health Office on Monday reported 86 new Covid-19 cases that were detected on the island on Sunday. Phuket has now recorded a total of 1,571 since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Out of the 86 cases, 81 were found to be contracted within the province, while the rest were a single returnee from Bangkok and four foreign tourists who came to the island under the Phuket Sandbox scheme.

Narong Woonciew, governor of Phuket, said the Covid-19 infection rate was rising, and the province had decided to set up a third field hospital at an old prison to deal with the increase in new daily cases.

The field hospital will be able to house 300 patients, and it is expected to finish tomorrow, he said.

Mr Norang said even though Phuket has two field hospitals able to receive more patients, more beds are needed in the near future.

The first field hospital was set up at Prince of Songkla University with 170 beds, while the second was established at Phuket Rajabhat University with a capacity of 300 beds.

Mr Norang said the increase in Covid-19 cases was attributed to additional active case-finding operations, adding the province has ample quarantine facilities ready to welcome residents returning from Bangkok.

He said the province will also construct a community isolation area in Thalang district to help isolate patients from families. Some construction camps in the district have cooperated with the authorities to arrange isolation areas for at-risk workers and coordinated with health and local officials to take care of patients, he said.

The governor said he has assigned agencies to survey "risky" tourism sites so the matter can be discussed today, noting that closures could be carried out for the safety of visitors to the island.

The move came after Nicole Sauvain-Weisskopf, deputy protocol chief of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, was murdered at Ton Ao Yon waterfall in Muang district last week, he said.

Tourism and provincial police and local leaders need to coordinate to gather information while district offices must ensure the safety of all tourists, Mr Norang said.

Meanwhile, SHA plus hotels, which partnered with the Sandbox programme, can track the movements of tourists to ensure their safety, he said.

The budget for this year will be used to improve the tourist island's CCTV network to monitor crime across the province.

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