Phuket governor orders all hotels on the resort island closed

International tourists, predominantly Russian nationals, enjoy the beach despite concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and restrictions for travellers at a resort in Phuket on March 20, 2020. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

All hotels on Thailand’s popular resort island of Phuket have been ordered to close from Saturday until further notice.

Governor Pakkapong Thaweepat issued the order today, in the wake of a steadily accelerating rate of new COVID-19 infections.

Under the order, guests already staying in hotels may stay until their scheduled departure date, but hotels are not allowed to accept new guests from tomorrow.

Hotel managements are required to report details of their remaining guests to district officials, so that health officers can screen them and monitor their condition.

Hotels, which have been temporarily converted into field hospitals, are not affected by the order.

Foreign arrivals in Phuket have dropped to a trickle, after the Thai government imposed stringent travel restrictions, including the requirement for “fit-to-fly” medical certificates, US$100,000 health insurance coverage and a 14-day mandatory quarantine at designated hotels at the visitor’s own expense.

Troops will join police and local administration officials from tonight in patrolling the streets and manning road blocks in Bangkok and other provinces across the country, to enforce the 10pm-4am curfew.

While saying that, during the initial stage of enforcement, authorities will focus on a PR campaign to stress the importance of complying with the curfew, Police spokesman Pol Lt-Gen Piya Uthayo warned today that curfew violators could face two years in prison and/or a 40,000 baht fine.

Those who work night shifts are advised to carry their ID cards and letters from their employers explaining the nature of the work that requires them to work late at night.


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