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Thailand joins other Southeast Asian countries with hospital bed shortages amidst Covid crisis



Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

As Southeast Asian nations are struggling to control new waves of Covid-19, Thailand is joining its neighbours in running out of hospital beds for patients. Last Friday, the government warned that beds could run out in as little as 6 to 8 days, unless the situation is brought under control. Malaysia and the Philippines are also struggling to provide the necessary facilities for the influx of infections, signaling a dire situation in the region.

As the third wave in Thailand has largely arisen from the capital of Bangkok, 31 types of businesses have recently been closed to counter the spread of the virus, which has seen a record amount of daily new infections last Saturday at 2,839. Yesterday marked the end of a 5 day stint of the nation recording more than 2,000 daily infections as today offered a slight respite at 1,871 daily infections with 10 deaths. 

Thailand has recorded 163 deaths related to Covid-19, prompting the director of the National Office of Buddhism to order temples to carry out cremation services for people who have succumbed to the virus.

“We want to make sure that COVID-19 victims receive their last rites.”

The closure of businesses comes as public criticisms increase towards Thailand’s government with the opposition party Move Forward calling for the PM and Health Minister to resign. Now, even the PM has been caught and fined for not wearing a mask at a Cabinet meeting, which surely has sparked even more outrage. 1 day after he was fined, the Government House reported 3 new infections of Covid, prompting a shutdown in order to disinfect the premises. As the going rate for not wearing a mask was 20,000 baht, the rate seems to have been reworked after the PM was fined only 6,000 baht by the Bangkok Governor. Now, first-time offenders in Bangkok can expect to pay the same rate as the PM. Second-time offenders are to be fined 12,000 baht, and third time or more offenders will be fined 20,000 baht.

The new wave of Covid has hit Thailand just when it rolled out reopening plans that were set for July in tourism-heavy areas like Phuket. The country’s vaccination programme is being criticised, once again, as The Economist reported 1.8% of adults have received a first vaccine dose, and only .3% have received their second. PM Prayut has taken note of the sluggish vaccine administration, announcing recently that the goal has changed from 70% to 50% of the population expecting to be inoculated by the end of the year.

Thailand joins other Southeast Asian countries with hospital bed shortages amidst Covid crisis | News by Thaiger

Malaysia has had new daily Covid-19 cases in the 4 digits for days despite implementing emergency measures to control the spread. As of Tuesday, Malaysia recorded almost 400,000 Covid-19 infections since February of 2020, with 26,000 cases listed as still being active. The country has seen 1,462 deaths to date.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ total amount of cases has reached 1 million since Monday, with almost 9,000 new infections reported. And, new virus variants are sprouting up in other Asian countries, most notably in India who has recently requested foreign aid to help with its depleted oxygen supplies and basic medical supplies.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia


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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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