Ministry advises locals in risk areas to work from home
The Ministry of Public Health is urging people living in high-risk areas to work from home or stay put for two weeks to curtail the upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases that is expected to skyrocket after the Songkran Festival.
"We are expecting to see 483 cases per day in the next month, even though we have work from home measures in place. The number is still high so we are going to implement additional measures as the current condition warrants such measures," Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said yesterday.
The government is reported to be imposing new measures to slow down the rise of new Covid-19 cases, which touched 1,335 yesterday. One of measures is to reduce mobility. However, Dr Opas did not say whether the ministry would propose the government impose a mandatory work-from-home order and further apply a targeted lockdown in some high-risk areas.
The ministry has designated high-risk areas as red zones in nine provinces. They are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Sa Kaeo and Narathiwat province.
Thailand entered its third Covid-19 wave earlier this month after the emergence of a cluster of infections that were detected at bars and entertainment venues in Bangkok's Thong Lor area. Over 50% of the country's new infections are linked to night entertainment spots, including 64% in Bangkok, 52% in Chiang Mai, 74% in Prachuap Khiri Khan and 76% in Sa Kaeo province.
In terms of the country's infections, Bangkok has the highest number of cases, with a cumulative total of 6,923 cases, followed by 1,976 cases in Chiang Mai, 1,199 cases in Chon Buri, 646 cases in Samut Prakan and 427 cases in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
According to the DDC, the fast-spreading UK variant has been detected in new infections, with the majority of cases found among teenagers and working adults. About 90% of the infected cases have shown minor symptoms or are asymptomatic. University students are also targeted as high-risk groups and new carriers.
Meanwhile, Dr Nattapong Wongwiwat, deputy director of Department of Medical Services, insisted there are sufficient beds for Covid-19 patients, amid collective panic on social media as users have complained they could not find beds at hospitals.
The ministry demands patients report their infections, said Dr Nattapong. "Patients should be monitored by the ministry's monitoring system because the disease could make their condition worse at any time," he said.
He said there are 4,703 beds in all hospitals in Bangkok and 1,482 beds in field hospitals, of which 3,460 were already occupied, adding that a patient could get a bed within one day.