Covid surges after Songkran

Covid surges after Songkran

The number of Covid-19 inpatients and Covid-related deaths rose by 150% last week over the previous seven days in the wake of the Songkran celebrations ending on April 15.

The Department of Disease Control reported 1,088 Covid-19 inpatients from April 16 to 22, compared with 435 from April 9 to 15.

Related fatalities rose from two to five during those periods. Inpatients with lung inflammation numbered 73, increasing by 143% from 30, and those dependent on ventilators went up 84%, from 19 to 35.

Dr Atthapol Kaewsamrit, deputy director-general of the Health Department, said events where people gathered over Songkran, increased the risk of Covid-19 transmissions.

Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, chief of the Department of Disease Control, said the department is greatly concerned about the two-million plus senior citizens still unvaccinated for Covid-19.

Dr Tares said that they should immediately be vaccinated to prevent the risk of death or severe sickness from the disease. He said four of the five deaths over April 16-22 were unvaccinated senior citizens.

"We have strongly recommended that people get the vaccine, including booster doses. They should come to get both the Covid-19 and influenza vaccines simultaneously without any side effects," he said. "We have original, or bivalent typed vaccines to respond to their needs."

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, also revealed that another Covid-19 patient had developed pink eye and sticky eye mucus from the Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.16.

Reported to have been infected with Covid-19 abroad on April 13, the 42-year-old man had flu-like systems, but only after being back in Thailand on April 16 did he develop eye mucus and pink eye.

Dr Manoon said the man did not have a lung infection, and after seven days of taking antiviral pills, he recovered.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is working on reopening vaccine distribution centres in the capital after the rise in cases.

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said there might be a million unvaccinated people in the city.

Vaccine distribution in the capital will focus on people in the "608" vulnerable group, which includes senior citizens and those with underlying diseases, as well as medical personnel and frontline workers, he said.

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