Thailand to step up mass testing at Phuket as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in resort island


People enjoy at a beach as Phuket opens for foreigners, who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), to visit the resort island without quarantine, in Phuket, Thailand, September 19, 2021. - Reuters

BANGKOK, Sept 20 (Bernama): Thailand’s health authorities to step up mass testing at Phuket this week in bid to curtail the surging Covid-19 infections in the resort island.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary of Public Health Ministry Dr Yongyos Thammawut said the ministry is to send nine Comprehensive Covid-19 Response (CCR) teams to Phuket to conduct active case detection for three days, starting Tuesday (Sept 21).

"The teams will test up to 25,000 people residing in the island.

"Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients will undergo home isolation while patients showing Covid-19 symptoms will receive treatment at hospitals,” he said.

Phuket has recorded more than 200 Covid-19 cases a day for more than a week.

Thailand launched "Phuket Sandbox” starting July 1, where fully vaccinated international travelers allowed to visit Phuket under several conditions, including skipping the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Since opening its doors to visitors and as of Sept 19, the island welcomed a total of 34,707 fully vaccinated travelers with 528,365 room nights booked since July.

Data showed a total of 98 people have tested positive under the initiative.

Meanwhile, Thailand plans to inoculate 108,319 students from 132 schools aged 10 to 18 years old under its "VACC 2 School” initiative.

The campaign by Thailand’s Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA) will inoculate students with Sinopharm’s vaccine, with the aim to help school children resume physical class scheduled to start in November.

Secretary-General of the CRA Dr. Nithi Mahanonda said the campaign is a research project into the use of the Chinese vaccine to vaccinate those under 18 years old.

"Parents must give consent to vaccinate their children,” he was quoted saying by Thai PBS.

Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 12,709 new Covid-19 cases and 106 fatalities bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 1,489,186 and 15,469 deaths to date. - Bernama

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