Hotels on the island of Phuket have been instructed not to receive any more guests from tomorrow onwards. Those already without guests will be required to close immediately. The news was confirmed by the Governor’s office today, and applies to all hotels in Thailand’s Phuket province. Hotels that currently have guests will be required to report to the district offices.
The Phuket Hotels Association has confirmed that 10% of all properties in Phuket are already shut, while 48% confirmed they were planning on closing soon anyway. Their hand has now been forced by the latest measures, which stipulate that all hotels in Phuket must close from 4th April 2020. Several hotels on the island have already been converted for use by medical professionals and as observation centres for suspected cases of the virus.
Earlier this week, Phuket confirmed that it would block all entry to the island by land, air and sea. Yesterday, Thailand confirmed that all arrivals to the country would be blocked until 15th April, while international visitors are banned until the end of the month.
In addition, the Kingdom will impose a nightly curfew (10 PM – 4 AM) in an attempt to contain the virus and make the necessary preparations for full quarantine measures. Public transport services in the Bangkok area will be closed from 9.30pm – 4am, according to an announcement by the Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob today. All train services for MRTA, BTS and Airport Rail Link will also close before the nightly curfew comes into effect. The State Railway of Thailand will stop long-distance trains on about 30 routes, while the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority have confirmed buses will reach their depots by 9pm.
The latest measures are an indication of the seriousness with which Thailand’s government is treating the COVID-19 pandemic. It follows a series of closures and travel restrictions throughout Southeast Asia, as countries seek to get their house in order and ensure the full safety of visitors and residents when the restrictions are eventually lifted. The ethos ‘stay at home today, travel tomorrow’ appears to be the strategy guiding these precautionary actions.
Panorama Destination is working to keep our partners, colleagues and clients updated with all the latest developments regarding COVID-19. Due to the fluid nature of the news, we recommend checking our social media regularly, where we’ll be posting all the changes as they happen: