The Phuket lock-down, the first province in Thailand to completely lock-down, has done so starting just after Midnight last night. The lock-down will be for fourteen days or until the situation improves according to the Phuket Governor, Phakaphong Tavitpatana.
Although the order doesn’t require people to stay indoors, with nearly every business closed except critically essential ones and repeated encouragement from the Governor and Law Enforcement to stay home unless it is a life or death critical situation, most are expected to stay indoors. All public parks and beaches are also closed to encourage people to stay home, with fines of up to 100,000 baht and/or up to 2 years in jail under terms of the Emergency Decree currently in effect across Thailand.
Phuket has a total of seventeen sub-districts and travel between the sub-districts is strictly prohibited during the lock-down period. Although people can go outside, some of the sub-districts do not have supermarkets (which remain open) leading to large lines at local grocers yesterday across the island.
Many of the sub-districts have laid barriers across major roads to prohibit people from crossing. All travel to and from the island by all channels is banned during the lockdown, with the exception of critical supplies and medical staff. Like the rest of the country, a ban on alcohol sales has also taken place until the situation improves to discourage social gatherings. The Government has encouraged people to not go visit with neighbors and friends during this period and stay home.
Meanwhile, a proactive campaign to help identify anyone with the Covid-19 virus has begun. Teams of volunteers, medical staff and law enforcement are planning to go door to door to every home on the entire island and give temperature and medical checks to residents. Anyone suspected of being sick will be taken to a hospital that is determined by the province. This was the first province in Thailand to start such a proactive campaign, although Pattaya has started one as well, but only focused on high risk groups and not the overall population.
There are numerous other rules and restrictions, including the National Curfew from 10:00PM to 4:00 AM, as well during the lock-down period.
The driving message from the Phuket Government is to STAY home during this period and if one is sick to be honest and open during the door to door checks. Governor Phakaphong has stated previously that one of the biggest issues Phuket has had is people lying and denying that they were in high risk areas, such as the red light district in Patpong. Officials have stated that they are not there to judge anyone and need people to be completely honest about their behavior in order to be able to get rid of the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
Photo Credit: Bangkok Post