Epidemiologists sent from Bangkok to help contain COVID-19 spread on Phuket

A team of officials from the epidemiology division of Thailand’s Disease Control Department has been sent by the Ministry of Public Health to Phuket, to help health officials there in the effort to contain the surge of new COVID-19 infections, with more than 200 cases reported on most days over the past two weeks.

Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit said today (Thursday) that the deployment of a team of epidemiologists and disease control officials to the famous resort island is to support health officials in the fight to contain the pandemic and to boost the confidence of both the locals and foreign tourists.

Of some 30,000 “sandbox” arrivals to Phuket, only 89 have been found with COVID-19, said Dr. Kiattibhoom, who attributed the low rate of infections among international arrivals to strict immigration measures.

Dr. Pitakpol Boonyamalik, inspection-general of 11th Health Area Office, said that 85% of the infections are asymptomatic and are in home or community isolation for treatment, after they were found to be infected through rapid antigen tests, while the “yellow” or “red” groups of patients have been admitted to hospitals.

He also said that health officials from nearby provinces have been sent to Phuket to help in vaccinating high risk groups and in the care of patients still stranded at home, adding that hotline services are being installed and opening of operations centres are underway.

Meanwhile, the Rawai sub-district municipality has ordered the lockdown of the sea gypsy community, located on the Rawai beach, for 14 days starting yesterday (Wednesday), after over 100 members of the community tested positive in mass screening conducted by health officials.

The mayor of Rawai sub-district said that there are about 300 households of 2,000 sea gypsies living in the crowded community, most of whom are small-scale fishermen, adding that they have been very cooperative with the officials.

Police and local administration officials have been deployed to the community to enforce the lockdown restrictions and health officials will start vaccinating the high-risk group first as priority.

Food, drinking water and other necessities are being and will be supplied to the community throughout the lockdown period.

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