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Officials expect 400,000+ Covid-19 infections from free ATK plan



PHOTO: 8.5 million ATK results will likely bring spike in Covid-19 infections. (via

The Chinese-made Lepu Medical Technology antigen test kits at the centre of a controversial importing deal are now scheduled to be distributed free across Thailand from September 16. Health officials are anticipating a spike of several hundred thousand new Covid-19 cases as a result of ATK distribution.

The National Health Security Office expects that as a result of the influx of free and easy testing, many undetected cases will be uncovered. They predict about 5% to 10% of those who take the test will be diagnosed with Covid-19. If that turns out to be true, the 8.5 million ATK results would see between 425,000 and 850,000 Covid-19 infections.

The NHSO points out though that they expect about 80% of those infected – 340,000 to 680,000 – will be asymptomatic, leaving about 85,000 to 170,000 symptomatic Covid-19 infections. They expect that with proper treatment, the death toll will not be nearly as jarring as the high infection numbers.

Final preparations are being made and procedures being confirmed for the ATK distribution and usage, with the National Health Security Office coordinating with pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and health service centres. These venues will be the point of contact where the general public can procure a free antigen test kit after registering using the Mor Prom app.

The plan is to move all those infected into the health care system, but steer them into community or home isolation. When someone uses the ATK and tests positive for Covid-19, they should contact their local clinic or location they got the test kit from, or call 1330 extension 14 to reach the NHSO or visit their website, and from there they will begin the process to enter isolation, either in their home or in a community centre.

The isolation will begin within a day, and during that period, patients will receive free medication and medical equipment like thermometers and fingertip oximeters, not to mention 3 free meals a day. The NHSO said there’s plenty of hospital space for people but realise that many people will prefer the comforts of their own home.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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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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