Koh Samui lockdown from Tuesday

Airport to close; essential deliveries only, by sea

A ferry leaves Koh Samui for mainland Surat Thani. The resort island will close its border from Tuesday to the end of April, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Watcharawit Phudork)

Koh Samui will impose a ban on people entering the resort island from Tuesday until the end of the month, as it joins the nationwide campaign to bring down the number of new coronavirus infections.

Koh Samui mayor Ramnet Jaikwang on Monday declared the three-week entry ban, effective from April 7-30.

People will not be allowed to visit the island unless they have a health certificate from a public hospital issued within the previous 72 hours confirming that they are not infected with the virus.

Those working in transport in essential sectors - such as energy, finance, consumer products, postal services and public health - will be allowed to enter the island, the announcement said.

Violators will be liable to a fine of up to 20,000 baht.

Sea transport will be the only access to the island from Tuesday. Bangkok Airways said on its website that the airport, which it owns, will be closed from Tuesday until the end of the month.

Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto said the island will not be totally closed off to outsiders. However, people wishing to land there will be strictly screened on arrival, to contain the outbreak, he said. Unless exempt, they must have a health certificate.

Surat Thani province has 17 confirmed Covid-19 cases, six of them on Koh Samui. according to the Provincial Public Health Office.

The island received 1,291 arrivals on Saturday, a slight drop from 1,369 on Friday, according to latest figures posted on the Koh Samui Municipality Facebook account.