The Phuket News

SuperCheap ordered closed

- Eakkapop Thongtub

THE MAIN SUPERCHEAP SHOPPING complex in Rassada, north of Phuket Town, has been ordered closed for seven days as a measure to prevent COVID-19 infections from spreading after at least 23 staff there were confirmed infected.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced the closure last Saturday (Sept 11), which he pointed out was agreed by the Phuket Communicab­le Disease Control Committee.

An order enforcing the closure was published later that night, showing that the closure was from Sept 12-18, days after officials realised that the shopping centre had become the epicentre of a cluster.

Governor Narong last Saturday explained that he had dispatched a team of officers from the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) and from the Muang District Office to the main SuperCheap complex last Friday (Sept 10).

It was reported back to him that 111 staff were tested. “Among the staff, 20 staff working in the warehouse section and three sales staff tested positive,” he said.

Governor Narong gave no explanatio­n as to why he dispatched officers to investigat­e the site for COVID-19, despite PPHO Chief Kusak Kukiattiko­on explaining to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanap­ong Punmeechao­w at a meeting held in the same conference chamber at Phuket Provincial Hall just one day earlier that a cluster of infections had been identified at a “large shopping mall”.

Dr Kusak revealed no other details about the new cluster, just as Governor Narong avoided confirming when officials learned about the new infections at the SuperCheap main store.

Of note, while reporting that 111 workers at the complex were reported as tested, it was not confirmed how many people actually work at the usually busy shopping complex, which pre-COVID had about 1,700 employees and features many individual vendors operating small stores at the complex.

Asked why the closure was for only seven days, Governor Narong replied, “For people who may be concerned about why we ordered to close [the SuperCheap scomplex] for only seven days, we have learned from the Bansan market [Phuket Town Fresh Market 1] that we [first] close it for seven days and then test people in the area. If the situation in the area meets our criteria, then they can reopen.”

“An officer at the meeting reminded us to think about the effect of the closure on our people, we have thoroughly and carefully considered and agreed to close the store,” he said.

Asked about the small SuperCheap branches across the island, Governor Narong would only answer, “We will discuss that later.”

 ?? Eakkapop Thongtub Photo: ?? The main SuperCheap store and shopping complex north of Phuket Town has been ordered closed for seven days.
Eakkapop Thongtub Photo: The main SuperCheap store and shopping complex north of Phuket Town has been ordered closed for seven days.
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