Relaxed restrictions expected in Phuket as cases now stable

Patong Beach, Phuket Province (File photo).
Patong Beach, Phuket Province (File photo).

PHUKET – Authorities in the southern tourist province will consider the relaxation of disease control measures as there has not been a new local case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients for three days.

The number of local patients has been stable at 192 for three days and one more patient recovered there raising the recovery total to 127. Sixty-four patients remained at hospitals including three severely ill people.

Provincial authorities continued to impose strict disease control measures including screening people in risk areas, especially Ban Bang Thao village in Choeng Thalay sub-district of Thalang district that is the last risk area of Phuket for screenings. More than 4,000 people were screened there and only 12 met criteria for infection investigation.

Phuket deputy governor Phichet Panapong said the 12 people were quarantined and officials collected bodily fluids from their nasal passage for COVID-19 tests. If they test positive, they will be admitted at hospitals. If they test negative, they will be quarantined for 14 more days.

He said people cooperated well with screenings in Ban Bang Thao that was a crowded community and thus posed high risks of spreading the disease. He said he felt relieved with the low number of possible cases of infections in the village.

Mr Phichet said that the COVID-19 situation in Phuket was improving because there had not been a new infection case for three days. If the situation continued longer than seven days, disease control measures including the lockdown of subdistricts and places could be eased, he said.

“Relevant parties will be convened to think if any places should reopen after April 30. Should they be hotels or department stores? However, we will listen to a direction from the prime minister as to whether he will let provincial authorities decide. Although the situation is improving, people will still have to protect themselves with face masks and social distancing,” Mr Phichet said. (TNA)