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Phuket reopens land and water entry points

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Phuket island has reopened its port and bridge for entries and exits. Bangkok Post

PHUKET (Bangkok Post) – All entry and exit points by land and water reopened on this southern island province on Monday after COVID-19 lockdown measures were relaxed under an order signed by governor Pakapong Tawipat on Sunday.

The bridge crossing at Tha Chat Chai to Phangnga on the mainland and all 24 boat landings were open to traffic.

Phuket airport remained closed to international passenger flights.

The provincial communicable disease committee had informed the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) of the province’s readiness to reopen the airport, Pakapong said.

However, the CAAT has extended a ban on all international flights to Thailand until June 30. Limited domestic flights are operating.

The governor said people can leave Phuket by land without restriction. However, those entering Phuket via the Tha Chat Chai checkpoint were required to have their temperature taken and download the “Mor Chana” application to support virus tracing efforts.

On Sunday, Pakapong presided over the closing of one of the field hospitals opened to cope with the spread of COVID-19.

The governor said Phuket had 227 confirmed cases in total. Of these, 223 had recovered and been released, three died and another died from motorbike crash injuries. There were no patients still being treated for the disease.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) indicates many Thais have become less concerned about COVID-19, citing a drop in the number of infections in recent weeks.

The survey – carried out among a total of 1,258 respondents across various educational and professional backgrounds between May 25 and May 28 – was carried out in response to the second phase of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, which began on May 18.

The results showed six percent of respondents said they have significantly lowered their guard despite the continuing outbreak, citing the decreasing number of infections.

Respondents said they have noticed fewer people wearing face masks and observing social distancing guidelines in public places, such as wet markets and public buses, the survey said.

According to the survey, 31 percent of respondents said they have become complacent and taken a more laid-back attitude on public health due to the drop in the number of new cases.

Respondents said they have seen more people visibly not taking precautions against transmission in public places, the survey said.

About 27 percent of respondents said they have not lowered their guard “to a great extent”, citing concerns about health as the reason for adhering to public health guidelines, while 29 percent said they have not dropped their guard at all.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of respondents said they haven’t visited venues or taken part in activities which were closed or banned prior to May 18.

About 24 percent of respondents said they visited shopping malls after the restrictions were eased, 18 percent went to hair salons, and eight percent shopped at large wholesale and/or hypermarkets.

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