Covid-19 inpatients and deaths surge by 150% in Thailand after Songkran celebrations

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In the aftermath of the Songkran celebrations, which concluded on April 15, the number of Covid-19 inpatients and related deaths has seen a significant increase of 150% in just one week. According to the Department of Disease Control, there were 1,088 Covid inpatients from April 16 to 22, compared to the previous week’s figure of 435. Furthermore, the number of fatalities rose from two to five within the same period.

The increase in cases also extended to inpatients suffering from lung inflammation, with the number rising to 73, up by 143% from the previous week’s 30 cases. Patients requiring ventilator support also saw a notable increment of 84%, rising from 19 to 35 individuals.

Dr Atthapol Kaewsamrit, Deputy Director-General of the Health Department, attributed these worrying figures to the risk of Covid transmissions at events and gatherings that took place during Songkran festivities.

The Department of Disease Control has expressed significant concerns over the more than two million senior citizens still unvaccinated for Covid in the country. Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, Chief of the Department, emphasised the importance of immediate vaccination for this age group to reduce the risk of severe illness or death from the disease. He cited that out of the five recorded deaths during April 16-22, four were unvaccinated senior citizens. Dr Tares said…

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“We have strongly recommended that people get the vaccine, including booster doses. They should come to get both the Covid and influenza vaccines simultaneously without any side effects. We have original, or bivalent typed vaccines to respond to their needs.”

In addition, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, reported a unique case where a Covid patient developed pink eye and sticky eye mucus caused by the Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.16. The 42 year old man, who was infected with Covid abroad on April 13, started experiencing flu-like symptoms after arriving back in Thailand on April 16, followed by the aforementioned eye issues. The patient did not have a lung infection and made a full recovery after seven days of taking antiviral pills.

In response to the surge in cases, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is taking steps to reopen vaccine distribution centres in the capital. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt remarked that there could be approximately a million unvaccinated individuals in the city.

Priority for vaccine distribution in Bangkok will be given to the “608” vulnerable group, which includes senior citizens with underlying diseases, medical personnel, and frontline workers. As the situation continues to change, it is crucial that people adhere to safety measures, get vaccinated, and stay informed about Covid developments.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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