Surfs up as Patong Beach launches safety sandbox for tourists


Phuket’s esteemed Patong Beach hosted a riveting safety demonstration for the Minister of Health, yesterday. The demonstration, which included surf life-saving techniques and appropriate medical responses to common injuries, was part of the grand launch of the Phuket Island Safety Sandbox scheme.

This initiative is designed to reaffirm the island’s commitment to safety, thus reassuring tourists of a secure vacation experience in Phuket.

Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew was privy to a lifelike rescue demonstration where a tourist was saved from the water and subsequently revived on the sand. Additionally, he observed the correct medical response to injuries from a parasail ride, which contrasted starkly with the unfortunate incident involving a Chinese tourist at Karon Beach the previous month, where the woman had to wait two hours for an ambulance due to traffic congestion.

Upon completion of the safety demonstrations, Cholnan engaged with Patong Beach lifeguards and local health workers. He also interacted with parasail and jet-ski operators and observed a woman receiving an influenza vaccine as part of the Ministry of Health’s campaign offering free inoculation against four strains of influenza to tourism industry workers in Phuket.

After the safety promotion event at Patong, Cholnan proceeded to Dragon Plaza at Queen Sirikit Park to formally inaugurate the Phuket Island Safety Sandbox campaign. Joining him were numerous senior officials, including Opas Karikawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, and Thongchai Keeratihatthayakorn, Director General of the Department of Disease Control.

Phuket’s local representatives, led by Governor Sophon Suwannarat and Rewat Areerob, President of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO), were also present. Other attendees included Niti Hetanurak, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Darinda Rosa, Acting Director of the Disease Prevention and Control Region 11 Office in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO).

Safety Sandbox initiative

Cholnan explained that Phuket was the first province chosen to implement the Safety Sandbox initiative. The island will serve as a “disease and health hazard-free tourist city,” aimed at establishing confidence among tourists.

As part of this initiative, hotels will be required to comply with green health, hygiene, and safety standards. Additionally, the Ministry of Health is working to improve local community hospitals and implement a One Region One Sky Doctor (OROS) service.

At the Queen Sirikit Park event, Cholnan awarded certificates to representatives from 18 local government organisations and three District Offices for their collaborative effort in making Phuket the first rabies-free province in the country. The event also featured an exhibition showcasing the work done by officials, including the Phuket Livestock Office and the Soi Dog Foundation, to achieve this milestone.

Cholnan and his delegation concluded the day with a stroll through the Lard Yai Walking Street market in the Phuket Old Town area.

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