New Suvarnabhumi airport terminal to become Covid hospital

New Suvarnabhumi airport terminal to become Covid hospital

FILE PHOTO: Airport workers wait in a queue to receive vaccinations against the Covid-19 coronavirus while security personnel walk by at the departure terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan on June 30, 2021. (AFP)

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FILE PHOTO: Airport workers wait in a queue to receive vaccinations against the Covid-19 coronavirus while security personnel walk by at the departure terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan on June 30, 2021. (AFP) Close Selected

Authorities plan to convert a terminal at the main international airport into a field hospital as a surge in coronavirus infections that’s straining the public health system shows little sign of easing.

Airports of Thailand Plc, operator of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, has been asked to convert the newly completed terminal into a facility with an intensive-care unit, medical rooms and support for patients with mild to medium symptoms. The hospital will initially provide at least 5,000 patient beds, according to a government statement late Tuesday.

Medical facilities are already at capacity, and deaths could double by August if the outbreak doesn’t ease, Kumnuan Ungchusak, an expert in epidemiology and adviser to the Health Ministry said at a seminar last week. Most cases have emerged from Bangkok, which continues to report the most infections and deaths each day.

The spread of the delta variant, expected to become the most dominant strain as early as August, has hindered efforts to contain the outbreak. With the mutated strain expected to spread to more provinces, daily case count may surge to 10,000 from next week, Apisamai Srirangsan, spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said at a briefing Wednesday.

Separately, Thailand’s Covid taskforce said it will consider proposals for a lockdown in the virus hotspots of Bangkok and surrounding areas once the health officials submit them. The panel last month refrained from implementing a lockdown in Bangkok and instead placed stricter curbs on construction sites and restaurants.

Thailand’s daily infections and deaths have set new records this month, with infections exacerbated by the spread of the more contagious delta variant. About 90% of the nation’s 301,172 cumulative Covid-19 cases have come since April, with 6,519 reported Wednesday.

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