Governor: Phuket virus surge at crisis level

Governor: Phuket virus surge at crisis level

Healthcare workers give Covid-19 tests at a trawler pier in Phuket. (Photo: Achadtaya Chuenniran)
Healthcare workers give Covid-19 tests at a trawler pier in Phuket. (Photo: Achadtaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: The surge in new coronavirus infections on this resort island is at a crisis level the provincial governor admitted on Wednesday, as tourism operators called for urgent action to rein in the spread of the disease.

"That the number of infections is more than 200 a day is a crisis situation," Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said on Wednesday. "We need to manage the situation better in the province."

The island province on Wednesday reported 258 new cases, one of them a tourist under the sandbox programme. Details of the new infections have not yet been by the provincial public health office.

It was the highest rate of daily infections in the last week. Three of the last four days have seen the number rising above 200.

The surge came despite 70% of its population having been inoculated against Covid-19  before the island reopened for fully vaccinated tourists on July 1.

Provincial public health chief Kusak Kusiatkul ruled out mass testing to separate infected people from those with negative test results, in a bid to contain the spread.

Efforts would be focused on testing the groups most vulnerable to infection - senior citizens, people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women, he said.

Provincial Immigration chief Pol Col Thanes Sukchai said foreign workers could be among the groups contributing to the rise of new cases. Many of them still ignored social distancing and other measures to curb the pandemic.

Immigration police would patrol all work camps more often and take action against workers violating lockdown measures, he said.

Phuket tourism operators have called on authorities to quickly bring an end to the recent surge in. They warn it could scare away tourists thinking of visiting the island.

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