As part of the Phuket Sandbox program, Governor Narong Woonsew reconfirmed the rules set out, adding some new details. As a reminder, Phuket will reopen its doors to vaccinated foreign tourists from July 1st, without going through a quarantine. You can see the details of the Phuket Sandbox program in this article.
The first arrivals in Phuket would come from low and medium risk countries in Europe and America. They will be flying with Thai Airways International from London, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Paris and Zurich starting July 1.
All travelers must be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test. They will also need to have a Covid-19 insurance of at least 100,000 USD and stay in a SHA Plus certified hotel.
Phuket Sandbox: Stay information
Visitors would be required to stay in Phuket province for at least 14 days before traveling elsewhere in Thailand. Shorter stays are allowed if the passenger leaves Thailand after their stay.
A new piece of information in the Phuket Sandbox program concerns SHA Plus accommodation. From now on, during the first seven days, travelers will have to stay in the same hotel. During the second week, they will be allowed to change hotels twice.
On the day of arrival, visitors will be tested for Covid-19 at Phuket airport. They will then have to wait for the result in their hotel room. If the result is negative, they will be allowed to leave. Two more tests will be scheduled, on days 6 and 7 and on days 12 and 13. After 14 days, another test will be performed. If all tests are negative, visitors will be allowed to travel to other provinces. In addition, they will need to install and use the MorChana application.
Same rules apply to Thai nationals
While the governor had previously indicated that these rules apply to all nationalities, he reiterated that this includes returning Thai nationals. This includes Thais returning to Phuket for work, a point often raised in the Covid-19 security debate.
According to Mr. Narong, they must come from low- or medium-risk countries and have been there at least three weeks before. They must also be vaccinated and have a negative test for Covid-19.
A new information about Phuket Sandbox, is that Covid-19 tests for air passengers are now applied to all arrivals in Phuket by land or sea.
Phuket Sandbox could be revised in case of a Covid-19 outbreak
The CCSA has developed a "Plan B" for the Phuket Sandbox program in the event of an outbreak. Some possible scenarios that could prompt reconsideration of the Phuket Sandbox program include:
- If outbreaks increase rapidly, the program may be reconsidered or discontinued.
- If more than 90 people per week are infected with Covid-19, the government will make changes to the program.
- Even without this number, if the infections affect more than 6 villages in the 3 districts of Phuket, the area of spread would be considered a danger.
- Finally, if the hospital bed capacity exceeds 80% in Phuket due to outbreaks, the authorities may end the Phuket Sandbox.
Easing of restrictions for the Phuket Sandbox
In anticipation of the Phuket Sandbox program, the governor has signed a decree easing the province's restrictions. With these relaxations, restaurants in Phuket are now allowed to sell and serve alcohol. However, bars and nightclubs remain closed.
It should be noted that the Phuket Sandbox will serve as a pilot project. Indeed, the government aims to reopen the whole country by October.
Sources: Bangkok Post, The Phuket News