Isolation for mild cases approved
Home and community isolation will be implemented for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients and those with mild symptoms in the capital.
The measures were discussed at Thursday's meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) operation centre, assistant spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangson said.
Home isolation will be implemented by 69 health service centres under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) as well as 201 community health clinics affiliated with the National Health Security Office's universal healthcare scheme, she said.
Parties involved must ensure that patients who self-isolate at home receive proper medical attention, Dr Apisamai said.
Home isolation will begin in the next few days, as the number of patients who have self-isolated at home is still low, she added.
The meeting also discussed opening community isolation facilities in each district of Bangkok, Dr Apisamai said.
This is where people with mild to moderate symptoms will stay while waiting for hospital beds, she said.
Patients must be brought into the system quickly and be looked after, Dr Apisamai said.
"We don't want patients at home for too long while waiting for beds. They must be brought into the system as quickly as possible," she said.
"We also don't want them moving to other areas so we need to set up community shelter facilities near their homes," Dr Apisamai said.
Meanwhile, Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said rapid antigen tests for detecting Covid-19 have been approved, in addition to the current RT-PCR method that yields the most accurate results.
The rapid test was approved in response to the large number of people undergoing Covid-19 testing. Obtaining test results using the RT-PCR method are seen as taking too long, leaving many people without timely medical treatment.
However, if a rapid test result is positive, it must be confirmed by an RT-PCR test, Dr Kiatiphim said, adding the rapid test is not allowed for home use.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday commented on pictures on social media of people queuing up for Covid-19 tests at several hospitals.
He has told the BMA to look into the matter and find additional testing methods, including rapid antigen tests, he said.
He also said efforts are being made to increase the number of beds for Covid-19 patients.