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No impact on Phuket tourism sandbox from increased screening measures: governor


Phuket Governor Narong Woonsiew said on Saturday that the tourism sandbox campaign in the province would not be affected by the increased screening measures to prevent imported Covid-19 cases.

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The governor issued an order on Thursday barring vehicles entering the province from outside Phuket from August 3 to 16, as part of Covid-19 preventive measures. Exceptions will be made for ambulances, vehicles of rescue staff and of financial institutions, transport of medical tools, chemicals, medicines, animal feed, agricultural products, fuels, petrol, parcels, machines, construction materials and auto parts.

People who for at least 14 days before arrival have received full doses of Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, or one dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson will be allowed to enter the island.

“The order is aimed at making Phuket safe for the Phuket sandbox programme, which primarily reaches out to foreign tourists,” said Narong. “Under the plan, we will gradually increase measures from light to heavy according to the new infections found in the province. This way we can make sure that the outbreak is under control while the province’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism, can continue to recover.”

The governor added that Phuket would start increasing disease control measures when more than 90 new cases have been found in a week to keep the sandbox programme safe.

“In the first week of the programme [July 1-7], we found 25 new cases, 48 new cases in the second week [July 8-14], 69 new cases in the third week [July 15-21], and 185 new cases in the fourth week [July 22-28],” he said. “Of these, only six were patients from the sandbox campaign while the rest were locals and imported cases from other provinces.”

“Hospital bed occupancy in Phuket is currently at 36 per cent, or 249 out of 694 beds are being used, which means the province is still capable of treating new patients and the sandbox programme could therefore continue as planned,” he added.

Published : July 31, 2021

By : THE NATION