THE contrast between coronavirus management in Thailand and the UK has been laid bare by a Weymouth resident who said he is relieved to be stuck in Phuket for the time being.

Paul Whittall, a former fisherman, has had three return flights cancelled, leaving him £1,500 out of pocket - a situation he said is preferable to returning to the 'chaos' back in the UK.

Mr Whittall, who now works as a freelance journalist, said he feels safer there due to ‘significantly’ more protective measures, and fewer people disobeying lockdown rules.

He described how streets, homes and public areas are sluiced down by disinfectant spraying teams; roadblocks are in place, and it is an arrestable offence to be out without a face mask.

“We hear on the news back in England that people are still out and about and going to beaches, it looks utterly chaotic,” Paul Whittall said.

“Without a doubt I would rather stay here; it might be draconian but people are calm, there are significantly more measures in place.

“(Disinfectant trucks) are spraying up and down; since March we’ve had infrared temperature checks taken wherever we go, and police and medical teams have been doing door-to-door testing for symptoms.”

Besides public health measures, Mr Whittall described a difference in attitudes.

“This is a military country, people are much more used to rules so everybody obeyed as soon as they were ordered to stick to a curfew and put masks on," he said.

“People are used to wearing them - the Europeans out here followed suit just to fit in at first, but now you can be fined or arrested if you’re seen without.

“We have this misconception in the West that Asian countries are less advanced; the way (the pandemic) has been handled is an example of how this is not the case.”

At the time of writing there have been 2,765 confirmed cases and 47 recorded deaths, although Mr Whittall questioned accuracy.

“We don’t know with the Thai government how much truth they tell us,” he said.

“Also - similarly to Weymouth - Phuket relies on tourism; people come here from around the country to work in bars and restaurants.

“Before lockdown there was a mass exodus of people returning to places such as Bangkok, so there may be an upsurge in infections.”