PHUKET: Covid-19 infections have worsened in the island province over the past month, the Provincial Public Health Office said, citing a steady increase in caseloads.
Dr Muanprae Boonlorm, the office's deputy chief, said more Covid-19 sufferers have been treated at Vachira Phuket Hospital since the Songkran holiday in mid-April.
The number of those hospitalised for pneumonia and fatalities caused by Covid-19 was also reported to have gone up compared to the February to March period.
Dr Muanprae said the rise in Covid-19 infections was likely to have stemmed from people being lax in practising preventive measures and a lack of fourth or fifth booster shots.
Most who have died from the infection between April and so far this month were in the so-called "608" at-risk group; people 60 years and over, those with underlying conditions and pregnant women.
Many people in this group were found to be unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. Some received their last booster shots more than a year ago.
Despite rising infections, Dr Muanprae said the province has the capacity to handle hospitalisations from Covid-19, with 15-20% of beds in Covid-19 wards full.
Thais who have not received a booster shot for the last six months to a year can get their injections for free at any hospital on the island, said Dr Muanprae, who suggested they check the availability of the vaccine with local hospitals as some offer the vaccination service just once a week.
Meanwhile, in Ubon Ratchathani, the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM) director-general, Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, said the pandemic has taught people and those in the medical profession the value of herbal medicine in the public health system.
Speaking at a workshop on the promotion of traditional medicine, he said the value of herbal medicine used last year jumped to 5.2 billion baht, three times the previous year's figure. The hike was attributed to more people turning to traditional medicine for treatment of Covid-19.