Phuket on alert after airline passenger from Bangkok found infected with COVID-19

Celebratory sprays of water are splashed over an Etihad Airways airplane arriving from Abu Dhabi carrying passengers for the “Phuket Sandbox” tourism scheme that allows visits by people vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus, at Phuket International Airport in Phuket on July 1, 2021. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

Phuket is on the alert after a passenger, who arrived on the island aboard a Thai Smile flight from Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok on July 1st, was found to be infected with COVID-19. 

All the passengers on board flight WE201, which left Suvarnabhumi international airport at 7.04am on July 1st, have been told to report to their nearest hospital or health office for COVID-19 testing.

The provincial administration also issued a statement on Saturday, via its Facebook page, urging those who visited the Central Floresta Phuket and Central Phuket Starbucks branches between June 25th and 29th to report for COVID-19 screening.

At Central Floresta Phuket, those required to undergo tests visited the Starbucks outlet on the ground floor of the mall on June 25th between 12.30pm and 1.50pm, June 27th between 9am and noon, June 28th between 10am and 7pm or on June 29th between 10am to 1pm.

At Central Phuket mall, customers should be tested if they visited Starbucks on the ground floor on June 27th between 1pm and 1.45pm.

Many netizens have criticized the provincial administration for being too slow in alerting visitors about the Starbucks customers and the air passengers from Bangkok, pointing out that the infected customers had visited the outlets as long ago as June 25th, but the administration only issued the alert yesterday (Saturday).

They said that many of them might have left Phuket already.

Phuket reopened to foreign arrivals from 66 countries, regarded as low and moderate risk, who are fully inoculated and go through COVID-19 screening on the day of their arrival.  They are required to stay at least 14 days in Phuket during which they will be subject to two tests before they can travel to other provinces.

The next tourist areas scheduled to reopen to foreign travellers on July 15th are Samui, Pha-ngan and Tao islands in the southern province of Surat Thani.



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