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1.6 billion baht generated in 2 months of ‘Phuket Sandbox’ as COVID spreads

1.6 billion baht has been generated from the “Phuket sandbox” scheme, which began on July 1st, amidst aworsening COVID-19 outbreak on the resort island, where over 200 cases per day have been recorded in recent days, according to Phuket Governor Narong Woonsiew.

27,609 tourists have joined the “sandbox” scheme so far, 10,355 of whom have already flown back home, 17,254 are still in Thailand, while 4,762 are still on Phuket. Most of the tourists came from the United States, the UK, Israel, France and Germany.

With the surging number of new COVID-19 cases, the governor admits that the Delta variant is hard to control and the medical sector in Phuket has reached a critical stage. Nevertheless, maintaining the “sandbox” scheme, instead of cancelling it, is the only way to keep the local economy moving.

Phuket recorded 241 new COVID-19 infections yesterday andthree more deaths, bringing its cumulative total to 5,495, 88 of which were tourists from the “sandbox” scheme.

Phuket’s Provincial Public Health Chief Dr. Kusak Kukiatkul said that 85% of the infections are “green patients” who have mild symptoms or a, however, that the vaccines used to inoculate people can prevent severe symptoms and death, but could not prevent them from being infected.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapon, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said that the Delta variant has spread to 70% of the province, which shows that receiving two doses may not prevent people from being infected. The problem is now the bed shortage in public and private hospitals, where field hospitals, which are used for green cases, now have to admit yellow cases.

He also said that a third booster shot of vaccine is required. Frontline officials will be inoculated first, from September 9th, as well as elders. The province also aims to inoculate 20,000 people per day, so that the “sandbox” scheme can continue during high-season.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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