5-day holiday weekend brings predictable surge in Covid-19 infections

PHOTO: 5-day Buddha Day holiday brings a predictable surge in Covid-19 infections. (via BBC)

While it was entirely predictable, Thailand rejoiced at the chance to get away for a five-day weekend, ignoring warnings from medical professionals, and now the country is seeing a spike in new and serious Covid-19 infections. The Department of Disease Control released figures showing that the number of people infected with severe Covid cases that require ventilators is rising again. Fatalities from the virus have also increased.

Doctors and other medical and governmental authorities warned people against travelling last week as they foresaw throngs of people coming in and out of touristy areas in Thailand would inevitably increase the amount of Covid spreading throughout the country. But with Wednesday and Thursday being major holidays – Asanha Bucha Day when the Buddha gave his first sermon and Buddhist Lent respectively – most public and private businesses declared Friday a holiday as well, creating a five-day weekend and too big an opportunity to travel for many to pass up.

But now the party’s over and Thailand may be paying the price. The director-general of the DDC said that Bangkok and other major cities across the country are now seeing a jump in new infections and Covid deaths. As of July 17, the number of daily deaths increased to 21 on average, up from 16 on July 5. The number of patients requiring the use of ventilators jumped from 300 per day at the beginning of the month to 369 now.

Even the numbers of infections among those who have received their third booster shot against Covid more than three months ago are on the rise, including the elderly and those considered vulnerable because of underlying conditions. The DDC advised anyone who feels muscle and body aches, a sore throat, or irritation to get tested or seek medical care as those are the symptoms of an Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variant infection

The DDC is closely monitoring incoming data and the overall situation, warning that medical workers should anticipate the surge and hospitals should prepare their resources for the potential emergency spikes in hospitalisations.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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