Prayut eyes extra effort to stem rise in infections

Prayut eyes extra effort to stem rise in infections

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the governor of every province to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 infections after the country logged over 18,000 new cases yesterday.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Gen Prayut informed all governors in Bangkok and other provinces that they need to speed up campaigns deterring the spread of Covid-19 by cooperating with all sectors.

"Gen Prayut also urged people to fully comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and closely monitor any outbreaks. The government will develop further plans to combat the virus in the event that infections spike above 18,000 cases a day," Mr Thanakorn said.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said the Public Health Ministry has provided a sufficient number of beds despite the growing number of Covid-19 patients, adding that the number of deaths and severe cases has come down.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the ministry has provided sufficient medication and hospital beds for Covid cases while expressing the government's readiness to set up another field hospital if necessary.

For now, the ministry will focus on home isolation measures for patients with mild symptoms or those who are asymptomatic, while hospital beds are reserved for patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms.

New measures may be implemented in the future to contain the virus, but the administration of third and fourth doses of vaccines must be expedited, Mr Anutin said.

Medical Services Department director-general Somsak Akksilp said the number of Covid-19 patients at hospitals almost doubled from 33,286 to 64,900 cases from Jan 16 to Feb 16.

"While there has been a decline in the number of patients who suffered from pneumonitis, many patients have increasingly been found to be in need of ventilators," said Dr Somsak.

Dr Somsak said the number of beds at hospitals and hospitels (hotel-cum-hospitals) has reached 174,029 with 93,273 beds vacant.

In Bangkok, 30,010 beds are vacant while 25,359 are in use. Some 2,179 people infected with Covid-19 are reportedly undergoing home isolation.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is planning to open another 13 community isolation centres, bringing its total number of beds to about 5,000. This isolation measure can accommodate 10,000 green-coded patients who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

Community isolation centres have also been set up in other provinces, Dr Somsak said.

The Public Health Ministry reported Bangkok had the most new cases at 3,458, followed by 957 in Samut Prakan and 811 in Chon Buri. Nonthaburi had 596 cases, with 534 in Phuket, 484 in Nakhon Pathom, 479 in Nakhon Ratchasima, 478 in Samut Sakhon and 397 in Pathum Thani.

Of the 168 imported cases, 42 were from Russia, 21 from Cambodia, 10 from Germany, nine from Singapore and six from Denmark and Israel.

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