Bangkok hospitals put on high alert by health ministry

Bangkok’s hospitals and healthcare volunteers were put on high alert due to an outbreak in nearby Samut Sakhon Province, sources told Thai Enquirer on Sunday.

The government said on Saturday night in a televised address that it had discovered a total 548 coronavirus cases in the fishing town of Samut Sakhon some one hour away from Bangkok.

The Ministry of Public Health said that the province will now go into partial lockdown with only necessary travel allowed. The lockdown will take place from December 19 to January 3.

Police said checkpoints will be in place starting from the night of December 19. [Read more here]

However, sources inside Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok and the Ministry of Public Health told Thai Enquirer that the ministry was alerting all private and public hospitals inside Bangkok and the surrounding areas to be on high alert.

Hospitals are to administer covid tests to all patients showing symptoms and beds and wards are being prepared for the possibility of an outbreak.

“We have been told to prepare as if a second outbreak was imminent, so hospital heads are assigning shifts and emergency response units,” said a doctor from Siriraj Hospital who asked not to be named.

“Because the province is so close to us and because of the large number of cases they found, there is a high possibility that we will see some cases in Bangkok,” the doctor told Thai Enquirer by phone.

Volunteers and public health officials have also prepared teams to conduct tracing and investigations in the eventuality of a possible outbreak inside the capital.

Thailand has for months recorded little to no locally transmitted cases due to a robust healthcare system and exemplary work from its medical community.

However, recent illegal border crossing by Thai residents working in Myanmar has contributed to small clusters in Chiang Rai and other provinces.

Saturday’s 548 declared cases was the most the country has seen in a single day and was a significant number as Thailand has only recorded 4,000+ cases.

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