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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: More cases in Thailand, the Rayong cluster and 3 new field hospitals



PHOTO: 77kaoded

Cases continue to pop up around the country as the cluster, identified 10 days ago in Samut Sakhon, south west of Bangkok, have spread. Yesterday the CCSA provided updates on the new field hospitals in Samut Sakhon, the Rayong cluster and new cases emerging in the capital.

The Samut Sakhon provincial stadium in the main city district is being converted into a field hospital with a capacity of over 500 beds. The facility is being fast-tracked to provide Covid-19-related services for some of the 4,000 Burmese migrant workers currently in quarantine in the seafood market area, Talad Klang Kung, the hotzone in the current outbreak which has now affected some 38 provinces across the country. The original 14 day quarantine expires today.

The huge marquees include 24 toilets, resting areas with TV, free WiFi and food. The facilities are under 24/7 surveillance of CCTV. Doctors looking after the temporary field hospitals will be using telemedicine to check on any patients who develop symptoms, before deciding whether to send them to a hospital. The workers are being expected to stay at the temporary field hospital for a full 14 day quarantine period.

The provincial governor say the Samut Sakhon is now ready to receive patients says he is confident the facilities are “safe and will contain the outbreak”. The governor announced that 3 field hospitals are being established.

“The field hospital is in front of my house so I am confident that it is 1,000% safe.”

In the first days after the cluster was detected, 44% of the people tested were positive for Covid-19 infection. That percentage has now dropped to 12% as people continue to be tested.

There is now over 1,200 cases from the Samut Sakhon cluster which originated in the province’s busy seafood markets.

Local Samut Sakhonians delayed the construction of the field hospital as they protested their fears of maintaining a specialist Covid-19 hospital in the middle of a business and residential area.

Meanwhile the CCSA admits that the current outbreak, which is now affecting 38 provinces in the Kingdom, is “more serious” than the first wave that hit Thailand in late March and April when the government imposed an emergency decree and strict lockdown provisions.

A spokesperson for the CCSA , Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin, yesterday urged the public “to comply with disease control measures so drastic measures would not be needed.”

“The number of infections jumped by over a thousand over a short period of time, suggesting the spread of the virus this time is far more serious than the first wave.”A total of 121 new Covid-19 cases were reported yesterday… 94 were local transmissions. The number of accumulated cases in Thailand is now 6,141.

But Dr Taweesilp also acknowledged that health officials are much better prepared with more knowledge and treatment options than in the early days when the coronavirus reached Thailand.

“If we cooperate, there will be no need to enforce the law, impose lockdowns or a curfew.”

The spokesperson also discussed the gambling cluster in Rayong and berated the gamblers for “withholding information about their activities”.

The new hub of Covid-19 infections was discovered in Rayong, 40 kilometres south of Pattaya, linked to a local illegal casino in the main city district. 85 cases have been identified there since Saturday.

“Others are affected. The entire province is affected,” Dr Taweesilp told Bangkok Post.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is urging the public to use the “Mor Chana” application to track Covid-19 cases around them, and identify their location so that tracking and tracing can be quick and effective if a local outbreak is identified near you. “The app provides data to the Department of Disease Control to boost its efforts to curb the spread of the virus.”

In Bangkok, 58 cases have been identified in the capital in the week between December 20 – 26. 16 more people tested positive yesterday in Bangkok.


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