Ministry bracing for post-Songkran Covid-19 spike

Ministry bracing for post-Songkran Covid-19 spike

The Public Health Ministry is reportedly stockpiling medical supplies to ensure the country's readiness to handle rising Covid-19 cases after the Songkran festival.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday that the ministry is focusing on medical supplies and hospitals to ensure readiness to provide treatments against Covid-19, especially for people considered at-risk of contracting the disease.

Patients showing mild symptoms or those who are asymptomatic can be treated at home, he said, noting that they will be prescribed medication based on the severity of their symptoms.

"The country has enough supplies of favipiravir pills," he said.

He also said the ministry's board of consultants has suggested that infection measures be eased, but the plan must be vetted by an academic panel first before it can be considered.

According to Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), about 110 million favipiravir pills have been distributed to hospitals nationwide for Covid-19 patients who will need medication. It also plans to distribute 45,000 courses of the Paxlovid antiviral medication combo from Pfizer (Thailand) among other medicines this month.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has issued its summary of the overall infection numbers during the Songkran festival, showing 146,474 cases in total between April 11 and Sunday.

On Monday, the country logged 124 deaths and 16,994 new infection cases tested positive via RT-PRC, according to CCSA. The figures did not include 8,276 positive results from antigen tests, which will make the infection cases rise to 25,270.

While 25,910 people were discharged from hospitals on Monday, 205,514 patients are still receiving Covid treatment, it said. The overall bed occupancy rate for moderate-to-severe cases is at 26.7%.

Meanwhile, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) urged members of at-risk groups to claim their free ATKs to help reduce the spread of the virus after the Songkran festival, NHSO secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee said.

The NHSO has joined hands with the Krungthai Bank, Pharmacy Council and other service units to launch a Covid-19 screening site and open registration to get two ATKs free of charge via 2,000 participating service units, including pharmacies and medical and nursing clinics, he said.

Since Phase Two of the campaign began last month, about 3.38 million test kits have been distributed to 1.28 million people considered at-risk. Out of the 627,611 results which have been reported to authorities, 31,156 were positive for Covid-19.


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