Bangkok governor under pressure to limit crowds over rising Covid infections

Conversations are hotting up between Thailand’s public Health Ministry and the new Bangkok governor over rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, mostly fuelled by the recent BA.4 and BA.4 sub-variants of Omicron (a variant of SARS-Cov-2). The call comes at a time when the variant is causing a new surge of Covid infections in Europe, the UK and US, also Brazil, and more locally Japan and South Korea.

Now the public health ministry is taking steps today to get the governor and the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority to take new steps to limit contact and minimise a possible resurgence of the virus.

With any general mass testing missing, health authorities assume that there are probably hundreds of thousands of new infections unreported and the true situation is likely much more widespread than they can accurately assess at the moment.

The public health ministry is likely to initially call on limits of large crowd gatherings and group activities.

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Mirroring similar trends in the latest surges of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants in the UK and Europe, the public health ministry is reporting that 42% of Covid inpatients in Bangkok hospitals are “seriously ill” or “showing life-threatening symptoms,” mostly respiratory.

2,000+ people a day are now being treated in hospitals in Thailand, more than half of them in the capital. But health authorities note that, despite the rising number of hospitalisations, and even more serious cases, the number of deaths is not rising at the same pace, at this stage.

Patients in “serious condition” have risen from 677 to 785 during the past week. Patients relying on ventilators, and considered in a “critical condition”, are up from 299 to 352, as of last Saturday.

The occupancy rate of Thai hospitals is at an average of13% at the moment, in Bangkok, it has sharply risen to 42% in just the last month, according to figures quoted in the Bangkok Post.

Authorities have also voiced their fears of the “bad timing” of the recent five-day long weekend. Today, Thais, taking advantage of the five-day break, return to work after heading home for the break. Last Wednesday and Thursday were Thai religious holidays. Most public offices and schools made Friday a day off, creating a five-day break.

But many see the public health ministry’s meddling with Bangkok affairs as politically motivated, given the Bangkok governor’s landslide win over the government’s preferred candidates, including candidates favoured by the Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul from the Bhumjaithai party.

Bangkok NewsCovid-19 News

Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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