Phuket wary of travel call involving sealed route

Phuket wary of travel call involving sealed route

Pichet: Hotel isolation
Pichet: Hotel isolation

Authorities in Phuket on Thursday gave a lukewarm response to an idea that Covid-infected tourists with no symptoms could be allowed to travel via a sealed route.

Pichet Panapong, deputy Phuket governor, said visitors testing positive for Covid-19 should be isolated in their hotel rooms, adding he had already conveyed this to the chief of the provincial immigration police who floated the idea.

He said SHA Plus managers, whose role it is to ensure compliance with Covid-19 preventive measures such as vaccination requirements for service staff, were also instructed to strictly comply with the virus curbs.

"For the proposed sealed route, if tourists need to go out, they may visit areas where there are no other people, like an empty beach via a sealed route. But this arrangement must be supervised by an SHA Plus Manager.

"Some tourists with no symptoms might forget they are infected and visit markets or shopping malls. This is worrying. I think the best thing to do is to keep them isolated. A sealed route may be considered in some cases only," he said.

Mr Pichet also pledged to take legal action against tourists who fail to wear face masks in public, saying many people are failing to comply with the disease control rules.

He said governor Narong Woonciew had asked the Phuket consuls of 22 countries to inform their citizens about the face mask mandate.

Meanwhile, Phuket on Thursday began rolling out third jabs for some 3,000 migrant workers in the fishing sector.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was provided at Phuket fishing pier. About 1,600 workers were expected to receive a shot on Thursday.

Phuket has some 67,000 migrant workers who are employed in various industries.

Mr Pichet, who presided over the vaccination drive, thanked the workers for joining the province's Covid-19 control efforts.

Somyot Wongboonyakul, chairman of the Phuket fishing association, said the sector is taking steps to prevent virus transmission and one preventive measure is to randomly test 10% of fishing boat crews every week. None have tested positive for the virus so far, he said.

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