lørdag 11. april 2020

Thailand's most popular island goes into lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge

Kritchai Rojanapornsatit has lived in Phuket for most of his life. Owner of a construction company, he's accustomed to the regular traffic jams on Thailand's most popular resort island, where large tour buses chug up and down its hilly roads as tourists weave around them on rented motorbikes, all heading for Phuket's many beaches, ports and attractions. The scenes that greet him now, however, are like nothing he's ever witnessed in his 30 years of living here. 

"There are no speed boats on the water, the streets and beaches are empty and there are very few tourists," he tells CNN Travel. "I've never seen it like this -- not even after the tsunami in 2004." That's because authorities have taken extraordinary lockdown measures to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Phuket, which has emerged as the country's coronavirus hotspot. With 170 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of April 10, this island of 400,000 or so residents has the highest infection rate per capita out of all of Thailand's 77 provinces.