Pattani cases may rise to 1,000 a day

Pattani cases may rise to 1,000 a day

Peak of curve still 1-2 months away

PATTANI: The Public Health Office of this southern province said the number of new Covid-19 infections may reach 1,000 per day if residents continue to let their guard down, which would delay the resumption of in-person instruction at local schools.

Deputy director Udomkiat Poonsawat, who also serves as director of Khok Pho Hospital in the province, said yesterday that 400-500 new infections were being reported daily in Pattani last week on average -- many as a result of mass gatherings.

As certain lockdown restrictions were eased last week, people have lowered their guard against the virus, paving the way for hard-to-contain clusters to break out in people's homes, he said.

Inoculation rates remain low as many are refusing Sinovac jabs and choosing to wait for the Pfizer vaccine, he added.

Dr Udomkiat said the province wants at least 70% of its residents vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the month.

As of Tuesday, only 35% of Pattani's population had been fully vaccinated.

He warned that authorities may need to impose targeted restrictions if cases continue to rise.

For instance, as most new cases were found to originate within people's homes, large private gatherings could be banned, while restaurants would be allowed to remain open.

"The current outbreak in Pattani hasn't peaked yet, and it may take one to two months to fully contain it," he said.

Furthermore, although the province has begun vaccinating students aged 12 and older, schools may be asked to remain closed if infections continue to increase, he noted.

Responding to questions about the closure of Khok Pho Hospital's operating rooms after a doctor caught Covid-19 from an infected patient and spread it to over 20 other staff, Dr Udomkiat said all scheduled surgeries would be conducted at Saiburi Crown Prince Hospital for the time being.

He said the province's field hospitals are fully supported by the Public Health Ministry, which has provided manpower, funds and other resources to treat patients with moderate symptoms.

This has helped ease the workload at large hospitals, he added.

On Tuesday, the province logged 423 new Covid-19 cases, taking its total to 27,115. Four deaths were reported, bringing the total to 331.

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