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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport to be field hospital

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Artist impression of the new Sat-1 terminal at BKK (via

A new plan will have Bangkok residents heading to the airport, but not in a good way, as authorities have decided to convert Suvarnabhumi Airport’s new terminal into a field hospital. The recently built Satellite 1 facilities are large enough to house a minimum of 5,000 beds for Covid-19 infected patients as outbreaks surge in the capital city.

With 216,000 square metres of available space spread over 4 stories, the terminal will get far more mileage as a healthcare facility than it will as an airport with Thailand’s vastly reduced flights schedules due to closed borders. Thailand’s Transport Minister has confirmed plans to convert the airport terminal to a field hospital next month.

The terminal complex was approved in 2011 for 62 billion baht and will postpone its official opening until April of next year. The airport authority says the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the importing of materials. But the terminal is finished enough to serve as hospital housing for mild to severe Covid-19 patients.

The ground floor is spacious enough to house at least 5,000 beds for Covid-19 infected people dealing with symptoms. The second floor will be converted to an intensive care unit to treat the most severe cases. The top two floors will be utilized to house people infected with the Covid-19 virus but are either asymptomatic or experiencing only mild afflictions.

Thailand’s government had previously claimed there were plenty of beds to house Covid-19 infections from the third wave of the pandemic, including the most severe cases. But, perhaps due to the proliferation of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is far more contagious and fast-spreading than the original strain, many hospitals were overwhelmed and the terminal conversion is badly needed.

Today saw a record high for infections with some 6,519 new Covid-19 cases and 54 deaths. Some hospitals in recent weeks have stopped testing for Covid-19 to avoid having to admit positive patients, while others formed waiting lists with people camping out for space. Stories of people dying while waiting for a bed to be available outraged the public. Authorities expect that this massive new airport facility will help.

SOURCE: Coconuts


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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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