Tourists are being invited to Thailand under a mandatory 14 day covid quarantine scheme, but with innovative idea that the whole of the island of Phuket will be declared as the quarantine zone.
Visitors to Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox scheme will
be required to wear a wristband that will track their location at all times. Presumably the system is designed to alert the police of any attempt for the tourists to escape the confinement zone.
Note the term 'sandbox' is a computing term meaning
an offline experimentation area where new designs can be tested before going live in the real world system.
The news regarding wristbands was confirmed as officials in Phuket this week began preparing the security protocols that will be put in
place for all foreigners arriving on the island from July 1. Thai news site Manager reported on some of the security protocols that will be put in place, which include security checkpoints on the main road leading to the island screening everyone
arriving or trying to leave.
The checkpoints will feature facial recognition cameras that will be able to detect any tourist who tries to leave Phuket before the 14 day mandatory quarantine period.
The conditions of entry into Thailand are extremely onerous and require that
visitors are doubly vaccinated, pay for a series of 4 PCR covid, tests, book in with state approved quarantine hotels, buy covid health insurance, and apply to the local embassy for permission to travel to Thailand. And of course to take the risk of
having their holiday totally written off in detention should they fail a covid test.
And by the way, all bars, discos, and gogos etc are currently closed due to a coronavirus lockdown.
Officials ludicrously said they expect approximately
129,000 foreigners to visit Phuket under the Sandbox scheme. The scheme is unlikely attract any tourists as at all, but may appeal to visitors who have business or family in Thailand who may prefer to spend their 2 weeks quarantine on the beach rather
than locked up in a hotel room.
Update: Prisoner tracking centre opens
26th June 2021. See article from
forum.thaivisa.com A visitor tracking centre for the Phuket Sandbox has been set up on the resort island, with 70% of its equipment installation complete. Phuket will be the first province to 'welcome' fully vaccinated foreign visitors, with the
whole resort island being defined as a quarantine zone, from July 1st.
The centre will be used, along with the Mor Prom and Mor Chana apps, to track the movements of foreign tourists on Phuket. Tourists will be required to install one of the apps upon
arrival. If an infection is found, the information will be sent to health investigators so tourists can be incarcerated in state quarantine facilities, euphemistically called 'field hospitals'.
On the positive side there is no mention of the
prison bracelet being part of the tracking arsenal.
Update: Prison rules
28th June 2021.
The Phuket snadbox scheme has now officially passed into Thai law as noted by its publication in the Royal Gazette.
However this latest round of bureaucracy has inevitably added a few restrictions
Firstly visitors have to book the required 3 PCR tests on Phuket at 2800 Baht each prior to travel and present the receipt to the Thai embassy when applying for a certificate of entry. You will need a 4th test should you want to move
on to the rest of Thailand after your 14 days of Phuket quarantine, and get paperwork to show the Phuket border guards.
Richard Barrow reports on conditions contained in the official description of the scheme:
Tourists must have an active tracking system on them at all times. They must go straight to hotel in a specially arranged car. Cannot leave hotel until first test results. Must report to handler at hotel every day. Cannot stay overnight elsewhere.