The government is looking for locations for field hospitals in more provinces, in preparation for more coronavirus-infected patients should the surge in new transmissions continue.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman, said yesterday that senior officials at the Public Health Ministry and provincial offices were surveying areas as far out as Ubon Ratchathani, looking for suitable sites for field hospitals.
Dr Taweesilp said the country had to prepare for a possible worst-case scenario, that the number of new infections could rise sharply and more hospital facilities would be needed.
"It takes time to build a field hospital, but it takes only one day for the number of patients to shoot up to 100," the spokesman said.
The first field hospitals were set up in areas under lockdown in and around the Central Shrimp Market in Muang district of Samut Sakhon.
Hospitals are also being set up at navy barracks, including one in Sattahip district of Chon Buri, now one of the provinces facing a surge of new cases.
Plans for field hospitals have faced opposition in some provinces. In Ratchaburi, residents worried about catching the virus from patients brought from Samut Sakhon for treatment. Dr Taweesilp said provincial field hospitals would not treat people from elsewhere.
"Wherever a field hospital is built it will serve only people in that province," he said.
In Samut Sakhon, a local businessman has allowed a building at his factory to be used as a hospital for up to 1,000 patients.
Wattana Taengmanee, president of tambon Pantainorasingh Administrative Organisation in Muang district, agreed to allow a hospital inside the Wattana Factory compound, according to a Facebook post yesterday by the provincial public relations office.
Dr Taweesilp praised the local politician for his determination to help people in the province. "People in Samut Sakhon will help each other," the spokesman quoted him as saying.