Health officials in Phuket warn of bed shortages amid rise in Covid infections

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Health officials in Phuket say hospital beds are running out as the infection rate begins to climb once more on the southern island. Kooksak Kookiatkul says that, as of Sunday, Phuket has reported 742 new cases. According to a Bangkok Post report, 513 of those are in local residents, with 2 in foreign residents. 133 have been imported by the island’s sandbox entry scheme and 94 have arrived under the now-shelved Test & Go.

According to the report, over 66% of infections are the Omicron variant. Kooksak says the island is now running out of local quarantine facilities for high-risk groups and hospital bed occupancy is on the rise.

“During the past 7 days, an average of 340 new cases were detected in Phuket and the number is trending upwards. Hospital bed occupancy is increasing, and beds are running short, although fatality rates are declining.”

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry has raised the island’s Covid alert to level 4. Phuket is a tourism “blue zone” meaning alcohol can be sold in SHA-accredited restaurants until 9pm. However, people are being asked to avoid high-risk places, such as pubs, large gatherings, and places without adequate ventilation.

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People returning to the island from other provinces after the end-of-year holiday are asked to monitor their health for 14 days, get vaccinated, work from home where possible, and take regular antigen tests. Those who test positive for the virus can dial the 1330 hotline to register for home isolation.

The Bangkok Post reports that factories have been instructed to implement a “bubble and seal” system in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak at their premises. Meanwhile, Phuket’s governor, Narong Woonciew, says local authorities have been told to ensure there are adequate resources to handle a surge in new infections.

“Home and community isolation will be prioritised, because most patients have mild or no symptoms and this will help free up hospital beds for more severe cases and for patients with other kinds of illness.”

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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