Tourists visiting the Phuket Sandbox might be in for an unpleasant surprise as Phuket just imposed tougher restrictions after the island is seeing an uptick in Covid-19 cases.
Although not as steep as the mainland, case counts in Phuket are now on the rise and that prompted government officials and private businesses to close operations in many areas.
For the period of at least seven days starting on Tuesday the following restrictions will be put in place:
- All Central department stores to close for 7 days
- Schools will stay closed until 16 August
- All football arenas have to close
- No group activities with more than 100 people
- No more than 1 person per 4sqm in open markets
This according to local Thai media and the following info graphic:
Mind you this is how it all started in Bangkok as well before a wide spread shutdown as numbers became uncontrollable.
For now this won’t affect tourists too much as they don’t visit schools or open wet markets. However the shopping mall closure is a sign of things to come. I wouldn’t be surprised if this closure will be repeated or extended in the future.
Here are the daily numbers for both Phuket and Koh Samui as both destinations currently run their own international visitor schemes.
The Covid numbers in Koh Samui are extremely low and the number of international arrivals under the Samui Plus scheme small.
Phuket has higher numbers including an ever growing number of international arrivals who end up testing positive after their first or second test and are then hospitalized.
My guess right now is that both of these systems will continue to run as long as long as the situation doesn’t get totally out of hand.
According to the Bangkok Post on Sunday there has been a record number of daily Covid cases in Thailand, counting a total of 15,335 infections countrywide as well as 129 deaths attributed to the disease. The trajectory keeps pointing upward even as the vaccination effort is underway.
Thailand continues to be gripped by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which really started to hit the Kingdom very late compared to the rest of the world. Up until early April of 2021 there has been barely any impact from a local health and safety perspective but once the disease got into the country this spring infections have exploded.
As far as the tourism schemes in Phuket and Samui are concerned it’s expected that these can continue to operate for the time being though tourists should ask themselves if there are a lot of attractive opportunities locally to partake it in order to justify an expensive holiday abroad (that also carries some risk). Tourists might not fly to Phuket for mall shopping but keep in mind that restrictions can be expanded at any time.