3 travelers arriving via ‘Phuket Sandbox’ fled from hotels: Authorities

Sino-Portuguese Building, the old Building in Phuket Old Town, Phuket. Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand
Sino-Portuguese Building, the old Building in Phuket Old Town, Phuket. Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Since Thailand “reopened” the country via the so-called Phuket Sandbox scheme last week, authorities said there have been three foreign visitors who did not follow through with the regulations.

According to Phuket Governor Narong Woonsew, on three separate occasions foreigners have left their SHA+ hotels, either while awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests or because they wanted to stay at their home. Both are no-nos for anyone taking part in the sandbox.

The first was an American businessman who checked into his hotel but immediately had an urgent matter to attend to back in the United States. He left shortly after arriving and therefore didn’t complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The second was a German man whose family lives in Phuket. Upon his arrival at the airport, he did not turn on a mandatory location-tracking function on his phone and did not check into the hotel he reserved. He immediately went home to see his family, Narong said.

A Norwegian man, 83, was the third visitor who violated the rules. He temporarily went missing from a hotel in Phuket’s Thalang district before he was found at a shopping mall in Phuket town. Lt. Col. Phonsak Naunnhoo said the man suffered from Alzheimer’s disease as well as dementia.

Col. Thanet Sukchai of Phuket’s immigration office urged incoming travelers to strictly follow the measures. He said the three cases would be “lessons” for authorities.

From July 1 through July 5, there have been nearly 2,000 arrivals at the Phuket Airport with the majority of them – 1,740 – being foreign nationals.

Among the requirements for all those who arrive in Phuket from abroad are installing an alert application and turning on location-sharing for their whole duration in Thailand. After going through immigration and customs procedures, incoming travelers must also take a COVID-19 test. They then must wait 24 hours at their SHA+ hotel for the test results.

They must undergo two more tests while on the island. If all three are negative and the travelers have completed their 14-day stay in Phuket, they will be allowed to travel to other Thai provinces. The rest has been summarized in English by the tourism authority.

Things don’t work for confused travelers one day before Phuket ‘reopening’

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