Ministry mulls closing field hospitals

Ministry mulls closing field hospitals

The Public Health Ministry is going to consider shutting down two field hospitals -- at Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition centre in Nonthaburi province and the Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok -- after seeing a decline in Covid-19 patients occupying medical beds in the capital.

Dr Somsak Akkasilp, chief of the Department of Medical Services, said the problem of hospital bed shortages has been easing after the number of new daily coronavirus cases had begun to decline.

He said there are now only about 40,000 beds in hospitals across the country being occupied by Covid-19 patients.

"We could say that the bed crisis has passed," Dr Somsak said. "We once reached over 3,000 patients in Busarakam Hospital [at Impact Muang Thong Thani] and now the number of patients is less than 1,000."

"The contract [with Impact Muang Thong Thani for the hospital] is going to expire in October, so it might be possible we will close it before the contract ends," he added.

However, he said the decision to close Busarakam Hospital is not final as the department needs to evaluate the outbreak situation after the government order to minimise restrictive outbreak regulations on Sept 1.

Regarding the field hospital set up in Nimibutr Stadium, Dr Somsak said Lertsin Hospital will replace it after being shut down by the end of this month.

He said Lertsin Hospital will be part of a coordination centre and prepare at least 300 beds for moderate and critical Covid-19 patients. The hospital has received support from CP Group to take care of Covid-19 patients, he said.

He said the ministry will keep its guard up in the event of new outbreaks by keeping some areas open to respond to patients.

According to the department, out of all Covid-19 patients, 76.02% are asymptomatic, while 20.85% show moderate symptoms and 3.13% have severe symptoms.

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