REGARDLESS OF Thailand’s daily Covid count climbing to a new high of 18,912 cases and 178 deaths today (July 31) and Phuket yesterday closing the island to control rising infection, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha remains confident in the Phuket Sandbox scheme which will be continuing, Sanook.com said.
The Public Health Ministry said this morning that of today’s large batch of new cases 18,102 were among the general public and 810 in prisons and detention centres.
This takes the cumulative confirmed total since the start of the pandemic to 597,287 and in the ongoing wave that began in April 568,424.
The 178 more fatalities took the death toll to 4,857.
An additional 10,750 patients were cured taking total recoveries since April to 364,494 with 200,510 still undergoing treatment.
Meanwhile Mr. Anucha Burachaisri, spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, said PM Prayut is not giving up on Phuket Sandbox scheme despite elevated screening measures for all those travelling to the island, controlling the movement of workers within in, and the closure of risky establishments and activities during August 3-16.
Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew yesterday issued an announcement that in accordance with the resolution of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee all entry by land, sea and air to the island is forbidden during August 3-16 except for those who get special permission to do so.
However the government pointed out that the overall picture of the Phuket Sandbox scheme so far is satisfactory with 12,395 tourists having come to the island during July 1-28. The average expenditure is approximately 60,000 baht/trip/person and this generated around 749.95 million baht income.
According to the Disease Control Department’s assessment, the rate of infection occurring in this area is relatively low. Most infections came from outside or people infecting each other without this spreading further.
Despite the Covid situation within the country and across the world it is felt that the Phuket Sandbox project is doing well. When the high season kicks in from October Thailand would be able to build up confidence in tourism here by focusing on safe areas coming under two key schemes – Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus Model (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao).
This strategy will be expanded to other tourist hot spots such as Krabi (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay Bay) and Phang Nga (Khao Lak, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai) leading to increased tourist arrivals.
Moreover the Phuket Sandbox project has attracted the attention of other countries around the world that will use it as a model to likewise open up to tourists in a similar way.
Top: Beautiful view of Phuket from one of U Zenmaya Phuket’s suites. Photo: U Zenmaya Phuket website
Home Page: Huge waves at Nai Harn beach, Phuket. Photo:: Phuket@photographer.net (CC BY 2.0)