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Bangkok prepares to open field hospital as officials warn of a rapid rise in infections



PHOTO: Andreas Brucker on Unsplash

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is considering opening a field hospital in preparation for a rapid rise in Covid-19 infections that could overwhelm medical facilities in the capital. Thai PBS World reports that the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has instructed the BMA and the Ministry of Interior to arrange space in which a field hospital could be set up.

The PM says he’s confident infection numbers in Bangkok remain under control but is urging people to continue observing disease prevention measures, including avoiding high-risk locations, wearing masks, and observing social distancing. The PM has made it clear he doesn’t want another lockdown, or to order entertainment venues around the country to close. However, he warns that venues which ignore disease prevention measures will be immediately shut down.

3 large-scale parties held on the southern island of Phuket at the weekend have resulted in the province recording its first infections in 103 days. The events, organised by promoter Kolour, were held at the Shelter and Illuzion nightclubs in Patong, and at Café del Mar in Kamala. Photos indicate that the vast majority of attendees were not wearing masks and that crowd numbers (believed to over 3,000 at Café del Mar) made social distancing impossible. So far, 4 new infections have been linked to the parties.

Bangkok prepares to open field hospital as officials warn of a rapid rise in infections | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkavinpong from the Department of Disease Control says new cases may top 1,000 a day if restrictions are not imposed over the forthcoming holiday. The cluster linked to Bangkok entertainment venues has now led to 291 infections in the capital and beyond. Opas says those numbers will almost certainly increase and spread throughout Thailand without tougher restrictions being implemented over the holiday period.

Prominent virologist Yong Poovorawan, from Chulalongkorn University, has confirmed the Bangkok cluster is the UK variant, which can spread 1.7 times faster than the original strain. He says this means that infections in 2021 could be 10 times higher than last year. However, if current restrictions remain 10 times more relaxed than they were during the first outbreak in 2020, infections could skyrocket to 100 times higher than last year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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