Yesterday, 1st July, was the start of the Phuket Sandbox, but the opening did not go totally smoothly as some of the 500 people who booked to travel had to postpone their trip due to delays in receiving the required documentation.
Main picture credit Ang on Unsplash
Under the Phuket Sandbox, all visitors need to have a Certificate of Entry (COE) prior to arrival on the island.
The Phuket Sandbox allows fully vaccinated travellers, from low and medium-risk countries, to travel to Phuket and stay quarantine-free. They cannot travel to other areas of Thailand for at least 14 days and must undertake a number of tests during their stay.
On the first day of the Sandbox 366 people arrived on four flights. Just 322 held valid COE’s, the rest were either unvaccinated or transit passengers. Anyone without a vaccine would have to quarantine for 14 days.
Thai Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, has confirmed the delays to the COE process but has assured travellers and tourism agencies that the delays hav now been resolved.
Once passengers arrive in Phuket they have to pass through an approval process that includes a Covid-19 test. They can then proceed to their approved hotel to wait for test results.
It has also been confirmed that the Surat Thani (Koh Samui) “Sealed Route” will begin on 15th July, if the Phuket Sandbox does not result in a Covid outbreak on the island over the next two weeks.
The sandbox may need to be paused, or even ended, if more than 90 new cases are reported in a week.
Krabi and Phan Nga are due to join the reopening in August.
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