What is the current situation on Koh Phangan, what has happened? A brief summary follows 😊
(The Covid-19 updates in chronological order are still available here.)
Positive numbers from Thailand
In Thailand there have only been single-digit new infections for days, and no new cases have been reported on several days. There was only one case in total on Koh Phangan.
No entry possible
Nevertheless, a relatively large number of restrictions remain in force and The entry of international guests is not possible until at least June 30th.
For many people, the planned vacation falls into the water and there are rumors that the borders will only open on August 1 at the earliest.
Of course, one can argue about the meaning or nonsense of this decision: On the one hand, a lot of people in Thailand urgently need the money that tourists bring to the country. On the other hand, too many other countries have far too many cases compared to Thailand and one is afraid that opening the borders here would also drive up new infections immediately.
As I said: Whether or not the measures are correct, proportionate or not, discussing this here would lead nowhere ...
Domestic travel possible again
Traveling inland is possible again. Sure, there are fewer connections available, simply because the volume is not available. But you can travel by bus and plane again, for example between Bangkok and Surat Thani or Samui.
The curfew remains
The curfew continues, but is now valid from 23:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Most shops and restaurants are allowed to open
Restaurants are allowed to open again (including on-site consumption), just like most other companies. Even pools and Gyms may be used again, the latter with the restriction that no machines can be used.
“Social distancing” measures must be applied everywhere, for example in restaurants a maximum of 2 people per table are actually allowed, although this is not observed or monitored everywhere. The serving of alcohol is still not permitted; it may only be sold to take away. Therefore, pure bars are still closed.
Hotels with a license are allowed to open, so there are more than enough accommodations available.
Check-in at the supermarket
People are now increasingly asking for a “check-in”. This is carried out in different ways, sometimes via app or in writing. This is intended to prevent overcrowding in places. In addition, in the event of a Covid-19 case, possible contact persons can be quickly contacted and isolated. There are some funny scenes: In the supermarket, entry into the building has to be confirmed on a tablet. Everyone presses their finger on the device without it being cleaned... 😅
... and always with a mask 😷
The mask remains mandatory. Also on the scooter, which is sometimes checked at police checkpoints ...
What is the mood like on the island?
It is sometimes a little strange: there are people who are really only minimally affected by the corona virus and still do nothing all day other than to spread their opinions about this topic. The amount of time spent there and also simply the fact that the topic does not get boring is almost admirable.
However, this time could be used better, especially here on site. There are people all over Thailand, also here on Koh Phangan, who literally have no food on the table and are not covered by any social network. Various aid projects. were founded and everyone needs financial and active support.
In general, I wouldn't call the mood on the island bad. It's nice to see how many people get involved and help those who need it most. You can also continue to provide help from abroad: You can donate to Unpacked via PayPal. We take care of the fees for you.
There are also not so few people on the island: I even feel like there are currently more foreigners on Koh Phangan than in a normal low season, because many simply decided that a longer stay here was more pleasant than returning to Europe. By Visa Amnesty until July 31.7 significantly more people have the opportunity to do so.
What are the next steps?
Thailand is entering a recession and even opening the borders will not work miracles: The economic situation for many people in Thailand will hardly improve this year. Whether the measures were excessive or whether the country ultimately did a lot right can only be said with some distance. But Thailand has already recovered from many crises and will do it again this time. So let's hope that the situation will improve soon and that we will see many familiar faces that actually wanted to be back a long time ago 🤗