The lush island province of Phuket, known for its breathtaking views and bustling tourism industry, will be reopening its beaches as the risk of COVID-19 decreases. Tourism serves as one of Thailand’s main source of income. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have caused catastrophic damage to the sector.
As the island’s beaches reopen, visitors must strictly abide by rules governing visits to public venues and beaches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Pakapong Tawipat, governor of Phuket, after a meeting of the provincial communicable disease committee.
Earlier in March, the panel had shut down all beaches in the province as a precautionary method; since they were seen as places that could attract large crows and increase the risk of COVID infection.
Despite the reopening of the beaches, tourism on the island is expected to remain scarce for the time being as Thailand remains closed to international travellers. The Phuket airport is also not scheduled to reopen – for domestic travel only – until 15 June.
As of late, Phuket has reported no new COVID-19 cases, while only two confirmed cases have been reported nationwide over the past week. Both of these cases involved returnees from abroad and the nation has not had a locally transmitted case of the coronavirus for some time.
From 5 January to 5 June, there were a total of 227 confirmed coronavirus infections in Phuket, more than any there province except Bangkok. Of the 227 people diagnosed, 224 have recovered and been discharged from hospital. There were three deaths.
The panel said that of the 12,287 people tested for the coronavirus, 7,459 were classified as patients under investigation (PUI), 4,045 were detected from active case finding and 793 from sentinel surveillance.