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Phuket’s reopening, delayed governor warns

The planned reopening of the province to fully-vaccinated international tourists from July 1 may not materialise if the number of daily infections continues at the current rate, with no sign of it dropping, governor Narong Woonciew has warned.

“We have set a target for the number of daily infections to go down to one digit by May 15 so that we can re-open the island to international tourists on July 1.

“But if the number of daily infections continues at 10-15, the plan might not materialise. Let us all work together to bring down the number of daily infections to the lowest possible figure,” Mr Narong said in his daily briefing on Tuesday.

Kusak Kukiatikul, chief of the provincial health office, said the Covid-19 situation in Phuket was still worrying. The number of daily infections continued to rise among high-risk people in local quarantine.

Active case finding was detecting new clusters, because there were still social gatherings in violation of provincial Covid-19 controls.

Dr Kukiat said since the number of infections in Phuket was still high, active case finding would have to be carried out more aggressively.

“If there were no new clusters, the number of daily infections could fall to single digit. Control of social activities is necessary,” he added.

Lersak Leenanithikul, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said Phuket’s latest Covid fatality was a 72-year-old man who ran a shop selling fishing gear.

He was admitted for treatment on April 13 and placed in intensive care on April 17 with serious lung inflammation. On April 19, he was placed on a ventilator and underwent kidney dialysis. He died of acute kidney failure on Tuesday at 5.30am.

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