The planned reopening of Phuket and Surat Thani provinces remains intact despite more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths nationwide on Monday, according to the government’s senior epidemic spokesman.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said on Tuesday that the reopening of Phuket on 1st July and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Phangan islands) later remains possible. Both provinces were reporting new daily cases in single figures.
Surat Thani had 1-9 new cases a day from Saturday to Tuesday, and Phuket’s numbers had been 2-5 a day since 16th June.
Dr Visanuyothin said that there were clear criteria for the government to stop the reopening.
For Phuket, they were:
- more than 90 new Covid-19 cases per week
- outbreaks in all three districts
- more than three clusters or widespread and unrelated infections
- at least 80% of local hospital beds occupied
- a widespread and uncontrollable outbreak of virus mutations
Dr Visanuyothin said there would be four steps, based on the number of new cases, in any lockdown of Phuket, as follows:
- reduction in activities
- sealed routes
- hotel quarantine
- an end to the Phuket Sandbox reopening project
For Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, their reopening would be halted if COVID-19 cases exceeded the number of local hospital beds, the spokesman said.
Dr Visanuyothin reported 4,059 new COVID-19 cases confirmed over the past 24 hours.
Representatives of entertainment venues met Phuket deputy governor Wikrom Jakthee at the provincial hall on Tuesday, seeking permission to reopen their premises when the island province opens to foreign tourists on 1st July.
They also asked for assistance, saying workers in the entertainment sector of Phuket had no income since the government ordered the closure of their businesses to control COVID-19.
They said they could operate while strictly observing disease control measures.