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Coronavirus infections rise among Thai health workers



PHOTO: Business Insider

Infections of the Covid-19 coronavirus among doctors, nurses and other staff on the front-line of the battle against the disease are causing concerns.

Yesterday the Thai Health Department announced 143 new infections bringing the total in Thailand to 1,388 since the outbreak began in January. The number of newly infected health department personnel was 8.

Doctors, nurses and other staff are looking after a rapidly rising number of patients, while essential items, especially face masks, are in short supply accord to some hospitals. One doctor reoprtedly spent his free time with other staff at a hospital sewing face masks.

A statement from the Health Department says hospitals need not only donations of supplies but also moral support, adding that the lives of caregivers, and those of their family members, are at risk.

The Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council is praising nurses and other health personnel working on the front lines, and called on them to “take great care while on duty”.

One of the most serious outbreaks among health personnel so far occurred at Bannang Sata Hospital in the southern Thai province of Yala. One doctor and two nurses have become infected with the virus.

The infections were detected between March 22 – 25.

They forced the hospital to temporarily scale back operations by receiving only serious cases. Some patients had to be sent to nearby hospitals according to the Public Health Department. All 21 staff at the hospital are being quarantined and the hospital has been declared a “dangerous communicable disease zone.” All patients not exposed to the virus have been transferred to other hospitals.

Unlike Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who sharply criticised medical personnel who caught the virus before later apologising for his remark, artists have sung praises for all health personnel.

The United Nations on Friday called for “better protection for health care workers” and called for contributions both public and private to ensure adequate protective equipment for them.

“The brave doctors, nurses, emergency first responders and other medical professionals working on the frontlines of the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic are heroes. Their tireless work and self-sacrifice show the best of humanity. They must also be protected.”

Source: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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