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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New Covid-19 specialist hospital to open as Thai government steps up response



PHOTO: The almost-complete Bang Khun Thian Hospital, south of Bangkok, will now become a Covid-19 specialist hospital

The Thai government plans to use a freshly constructed hospital as a Covid-19-only patient hospital. Yesterday the number of infections in Thailand rose by 32 cases for a total of 114, the largest single rise in new daily cases. The Thai PM was speaking about the possibilities of moving to Stage 3 after chairing a meeting yesterday on new measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The government will spend all the resources we need in the fight against Covid-19.”

Stage 3 is where people, including those with no previous trips to virus-hit countries, become infected with the disease.  PM Prayut says, if widespread community infections breakout, a dedicated hospital would be needed. He referred to a new 100 bed hospital which is yet to open.

The new facility is the Bang Khun Thian Hospital in Bang Khun Thian, south west of the main city on the Gulf of Thailand, to treat Covid-19 patients. The 2 billion baht hospital was originally planned as a specialist geriatric hospital.

The PM also announced that officials are preparing other hospitals across the capital for Covid-19 patients with less severe symptoms, including the Royal Thai Airforce Hospital, Sirindhorn Hospital, Golden Jubilee Medical Centre and the Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute in Samut Prakhan.

State agencies are also on alert to be fully prepared for a worst-case scenario of a community viral outbreak.

“Those involved in security must think whether they need to enforce new legal measures to cope with the situation. It’s easy to announce them, but we also need to gauge their impact,” the PM was quoted in Bangkok Post.

“Bar and entertainment venues may need to be temporarily closed after recent cluster infections involving people drinking together in a bar.”

“Officials will first opt to seek the cooperation from pub owners but all must be closed if necessary.”

The PM also addressed public concerns over the shortages of face masks and the cost of disease treatments.

“The government is checking the total amount of face masks, both domestically produced and imported, to make sure everyone can get access to them. Officials are also developing alternative masks or washable cloth masks, for people who are less exposed to the disease.”

“We’re also applying UCEP (Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients) to Covid-19 patients.”

UCEP, the Thai universal public health system which covers all Thais and working foreigners (with a valid work permit) has listed Covid-19 as an emergency case enabling patients to seek treatment at their nearest private or state hospitals free of charge in the first 72 hours.

At present, people who suspect they may contract the virus are subject to medical bills ranging between 6,000 and 7,500 baht.

(Your personal situation with medical coverage from the UCEP or private health insurance should be checked to ensure that you don’t have any unpleasant financial surprises if you were to become infected)

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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