Phuket sees Covid-19 surge, lax prevention and booster shot issues

Thailand’s island province of Phuket has experienced a concerning surge in Covid-19 infections over the past month, according to the Provincial Public Health Office. Deputy Chief Dr Muanprae Boonlorm highlighted that Vachira Phuket Hospital has seen a rise in Covid-19 patients since the Songkran holiday in mid-April. The number of hospitalisations due to pneumonia and Covid-19 related fatalities have also increased compared to the February to March period, Bangkok Post reported.

Dr. Muanprae attributed the increase in infections to people being lax in practicing preventive measures and a lack of fourth or fifth booster shots. Most of the fatalities between April and this month were among the ‘608’ at-risk group, which includes individuals aged 60 and over, those with underlying conditions, and pregnant women. Many in this group were found to be unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, with some receiving their last booster shots over a year ago.

Despite the rising infections, Dr. Muanprae assured that the province has the capacity to handle hospitalisations from Covid-19, with only 15-20% of beds in Covid-19 wards currently occupied. Thais who have not received a booster shot in the last six months to a year can obtain their injections for free at any hospital on the island. Dr. Muanprae advised checking the availability of the vaccine with local hospitals, as some provide the vaccination service only once a week.

In a related development, the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM) director-general, Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, emphasised the importance of herbal medicine in the public health system during a workshop on the promotion of traditional medicine. He revealed that the value of herbal medicine used last year surged to 5.2 billion baht, three times the previous year’s figure. The increase was attributed to more people turning to traditional medicine for Covid-19 treatment.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Thailand’s Covid-19 cases had surged by 39% in one week.

Covid-19 NewsPhuket News

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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.