Phuket Update in time of Covid-19
Phuket marinas cannot accept any more yachts, even those already in country. The port is closed to all foreign vessels except cargo ships, which only stay long enough to offload goods and then leave. No crew is allowed off the ship. The whole island is locked down and there is no unnecessary travel between districts with highway check points.
For those boats that are allowed to put to sea, the orders noted, “When leaving the port or coast at any place, notification must be made to enter the port or coast at the place of departure and the operators and the owners of the boats are to be strict in enforcing the epidemic prevention measures. All the boat officials must wear face masks and maintain a space of not less than 1.5 metres from other people and must strictly follow the procedures Measures of the Ministry of Public Health and Communicable Disease Committees.”
The special reminder for boat captains and crews, repeating the health regulations for everyone initially laid down weeks ago, came as Vice Admiral Cherngchai Chomcherngpat of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command on Apr 17 announced that Phuket’s fishing fleet was free from any COVID-19 infection as he led inspections of fishing crews as part of the efforts to help prevent the spread of virus.
The Phuket News reported on 26 April that over the past month and a half all the “lockdown” restrictions laid down by national and provincial orders have pointed to an April 30 deadline. The Emergency Decree is set to expire on April 30 along with the ban on all inbound international passenger flights and domestic flights can take to the skies again after April 30.
Yet all that can change with just one announcement. Many reports online have guessed that at least some of the restrictions will be lifted on April 30. When Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana extended all the initial health orders to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, he did so with all the orders marked to expire on April 30, he did not include the previously used standard rider “unless otherwise needed”.
In the interim, there are many groups and volunteers across the island stepping up to help people in need of food and other support and among those from the yachting community is Asia Pacific Superyachts Phuket’s Tanyuta ‘Jojo’ Singhmanee. Jojo and her team’s first project was to buy watermelons from Phuket farmers who cannot sell their products due to lockdown. The team then prepared packaged offerings and distributed packs to people in need. The following day team members then prepared hundreds of chicken & pork dinners to distribute and note the team will continue to help during lockdown.
This is just one example of the hundreds of volunteers and charitable efforts working tirelessly with local government to daily distribute food and needed items to those in need. There are many stories of people helping others on Phuket and throughout Thailand. APS co-founders, Gordon Fernandes and Jojo, are happy to receive any questions and comment, “Our APS team continues to work from home and we all look forward to boats returning to Phuket.
In a positive move, Thailand’s cabinet approved a second automatic visa extension for foreigners for three more months, in a bid to prevent long queues at immigration centres. Foreigners whose visas had expired since March 26 will be permitted to stay until July 31 without having to apply for an extension. Extending the Temporary Import Status for vessels can be done via an agent.