3 travellers visiting Phuket break Covid-19 rules by leaving hotel before test result out or going home

Phuket opened up to vaccinated tourists on July 1, 2021.

Lean Jinghui | July 08, 2021, 02:49 PM

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On July 1, the first international travellers arrived in Phuket as it opened up to vaccinated tourists.

Under the Phuket "sandbox" scheme, tourists are no longer required to undergo quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in their country for at least 14 days and test negative upon arrival.

After going through immigration and customs procedures, travellers must also take a Covid-19 test and wait 24 hours at their designated hotel for the test results.

Among other requirements for those new arrivals in Phuket are installing an alert application and turning on location-sharing for their whole duration in Thailand.

However, according to Thaiger, the island has since reported the "escape" of three travellers from their respective accommodations.

All three travellers were later located and handled by authorities.


According to Phuket Governor Narong Woonsew, the three foreigners had left their hotel accommodations either while waiting for the results of their on-arrival Covid-19 tests, or because they wanted to stay at home instead, Coconuts.co reported.

The first traveller that went "missing" was an American. He was found to have left his room overnight.

He was later found to have left Thailand altogether to fly back to the U.S., due to an urgent business matter back home.

The next missing person was a German man, who had family in Phuket.

According to The Bangkok Post, he had left his hotel to stay with his Thai wife in the province.

This is in violation of the rules as his Covid-19 test results had not yet been confirmed, according to Thaiger.

He also allegedly had not stayed in the designated hotel.

The third visitor was an 82-year-old Norwegian man with mild dementia, who was found to be missing on the morning of July 6.

The Phuket News reported that the elderly tourist was later spotted by a hotel security guard getting on a motorbike, heading to another part of the island.

No further details were shared with regards to why he had been missing, although the Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Pornsak Nuannu stated that the mild dementia could have contributed to the situation.

Both the German and the Norwegian tourist were subsequently returned to their hotel by authorities.

More than 2,000 travellers

Phuket is the first in Thailand to launch the experimental "Phuket Sandbox" scheme, without a quarantine period required.

According to CNA, the touristic island has welcomed about 2,113 travellers as of July 7.

Only one person – a traveller from the United Arab Emirates – has tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

He was quickly taken to the hospital for medical treatment, with those who had travelled together with him then isolated at dedicated quarantine facilities.

Top image via Unsplash