One of the things would-be tourists to Phuket, Thailand during the Phuket Sandbox have been asking is this:
What happens to your children in the Phuket Sandbox if they test positive for Covid-19 during one of the regular mandatory tests, and you do not?
Will your children be allowed to stay with you in the SHA hotel? Will you all be moved to an alternative local quarantine facility (ALQ) to start a 14-day quarantine?
Will your children be placed in quarantine with you or apart from you?
Will they be sent to a Thai hospital without you?
Will you be able to stay in a Thai hospital with them?
From what has been reported this week as happening to children currently in the Phuket Sandbox with their parents, and who then tested positive for Covid-19, this is what will likely happen to your children if they test positive for Covid-19 while in the Sandbox and you do not.
What is happening to children testing positive for Covid-19 while in the Phuket Sandbox?
As has been reported in several Thai media outlets, including the Bangkok Post, children that test positive for Covid-19 while in the Phuket Sandbox are currently being separated from their parents and sent to a Thai hospital.
This is the case whether the child has any symptoms or is completely asymptomatic.
The parents are then forced to quarantine apart from their children for at least 14 days in their SHA hotel.
While this may seem barbaric to those coming from a more developed country, this is currently what is being mandated by Thai authorities.
The children who have reportedly been separated from their parents while in the Phuket Sandbox so far are two children from Myanmar, and a 13-year old Swiss child.
The two Burmese children, age 8 and 9-years-of-age, tested positive for Covid-19 and were immediately separated from their parents and sent to a Thai hospital.
Meanwhile, their parents were placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
The 13-year-old Swiss child, who traveled with family to Phuket during the Sandbox, is likely to also be taken to a Thai hospital.
His family will also be placed in quarantine.
Should you travel to Thailand with children during the Phuket Sandbox?
While it is obviously up to you as a parent whether you travel to Phuket with your children during the Sandbox scheme, it should be pointed out that most foreigners living in Thailand, and commenting on social media, do not currently recommend it.
Not when there is a reasonable chance your children could be removed from your care if they test positive for Covid-19 at any point during your holiday, and then be mandated to stay in a Thai hospital for at least 14 days without you.
After all, Thai authorities are not only requiring people who test positive for Covid-19 spend at least 14 days in a Thai hospital, they are also quarantining anyone that is in contact with them.
This means you could have traveled to Thailand with someone on your plane who then tests positive for Covid-19. It also means you may come into contact with someone at your hotel who later tests positive, or someone in a Phuket restaurant or cafe you decide to visit.
Whatever the reason, your child could test positive for Covid-19 while you do not and, as you are now in a foreign country with few of the rights you take for granted at home, your child is likely to be removed from your care and taken to a Thai hospital where they will spend the next two weeks.
Considering this could be traumatic for your child, as well as for yourselves as parents, this should be taken into consideration before you take advantage of the Phuket Sandbox with your kids.
Especially as, up until now, Thai authorities have not been particularly upfront with parents planning on taking advantage of the Phuket Sandbox that this is one of the things that could happen.