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



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BANGKOK, September 20 (Bern): Thai health officials will step up mass testing in Phuket this week in a bid to curb the surge in Covid-19 infections on the resort island.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Yongyos Thammawut, said the ministry will send nine Global Covid-19 Response (CCR) teams to Phuket to carry out active case detection for three days, from from Tuesday September 21.

“The teams will test up to 25,000 people residing on the island.

“Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients will be isolated at home while patients with symptoms of Covid-19 will receive treatment in hospitals,” he said.

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

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

Since opening its doors to visitors and on September 19, the island has welcomed a total of 34,707 fully vaccinated travelers with 528,365 overnight stays booked since July.

Data showed that a total of 98 people tested positive as part of the initiative.

Meanwhile, Thailand plans to immunize 108,319 students from 132 schools aged 10-18 as part of its “VACC 2 School” initiative.

The campaign of the Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA) in Thailand will inoculate students with the Sinopharm vaccine, with the aim of helping schoolchildren to resume physical classes which are slated to begin in November.

CRA Secretary General Dr Nithi Mahanonda said the campaign is a research project on the use of the Chinese vaccine to immunize under-18s.

“Parents must give their consent to vaccinate their children,” he told Thai PBS.

In the past 24 hours, Thailand has recorded 12,709 new cases of Covid-19 and 106 deaths so far bringing the total number of infections in the kingdom to 1,489,186 and 15,469 deaths to date. – Bernama

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