The island of Ko Pha Ngan, in the south-east of Thailand, is a particularly popular destination for tourists because of its beaches and natural environment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many health restrictions have been put in place in the country. Yet, as CNN noted, some people are trying to circumvent the bans by organising parties. The police cracked down and 89 tourists were arrested in a bar.
6 tourists were from the UK
Organisers and those present in the bar are accused of having broken the measures put in place in March to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 22 Thais and 89 foreigners were arrested. Among them were 20 French tourists, 10 from the US, and 6 from the UK. The police are said to have learned of this event by discovering tickets for sale on the internet. The COVID-19 tests that were carried out proved negative for all the participants. While the majority of those arrested were released, 28 were still detained on 29 January.
Police colonel Panya Nirattimanon commented:
They are tourists who cannot leave Thailand because of COVID. Maybe they think it's OK to gather in large groups to relax and have fun.
Thailand has penalties in place of up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht (about £977). The organisers are also accused of serving alcohol in a restaurant, which is currently banned in this part of the country.
Borders are closed
The country's borders have been closed to the majority of foreign tourists since April 2020. Foreigners who want to enter the country have to quarantine for 14 days. According to Johns-Hopkins University data, 17,953 cases of COVID-19 and 77 deaths have been recorded in the country since the beginning of the epidemic.