Leading doctor calls for Bangkok lockdown

A doctor at the largest public hospital in Thailand on Wednesday asked the government to lock down Bangkok for seven days to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the capital amid shortages of hospital beds.

A new daily high for the Covid-related death toll was also reached in the past 24 hours, the government said.

“It seems like we are cornered, there are not that many options left,” Dr Nitipat Jiarakul, chief of Siriraj Hospital’s Division of Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis Department, posted in his social media page on Wednesday.

“The number of daily new cases is not decreasing” and could potentially exceed 10,000, he indicated.

He said that public and private are limiting the number of tests they provide because there are not enough beds for everyone who might test positive.

He also said there had been a higher ratio of elderly and people with underlying diseases among those infected in the third wave, and they usually take longer time to recover.

“Each hospital is trying not to test that many people because there is not enough bed for when they have tested positive,” Dr Nitipat.

“We can no longer add any more bed for patients in severity level 2 and 3,” he added.

Patients in severity level 1 will normally require a ventilator to breathe.

He said the number of available beds that could handle cases with severity level 2 and 3 at major public hospitals is now less than 5 percent.

The Ministry of Public Health said on Tuesday that there were only 20 hospital beds left at public hospitals that could handle severe cases.

There are currently 433 Covid patients who require ventilators and 210 of them are being treated in Bangkok, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Wednesday.

The majority of the remaining patients on ventilator are being treated in Samut Prakan with 53 cases followed by 22 in Nonthaburi, 21 in Chonburi, 20 in Pathum Thani, 15 in Samut Sakhon and 13 in Nakhon Pathom.  

The CCSA also reported that there are now 37,018 patients being treated at hospitals. Of that, 11,366 are being treated at public and private hospitals and 25,652 are being treated at field hospitals that are usually for patient with small symptoms and asymptomatic patients.

“For me, the final answer for this fourth wave is lock down Bangkok for seven days to get rid of left-over problems and reduce the number of new problems that are piling up,” Dr Nitipat said.

New high

The CCSA said 3,174 new Covid cases and a new high of 51 related deaths were found in the past 24 hours. The previous record was 47 on May 27.

Of the 3,112 local cases (excluding 36 cases in prisons and 26 imported cases), the highest numbers by province were 956 in Bangkok followed by 501 in Samut Prakan, 240 in Samut Sakhon, 185 in Songkhla, 142 in Chonburi and 120 in Pattani. 

The CCSA also reported that there have been a total of 96 known clusters in Bangkok. Of those 79 have reported cases in the past 14 days including 30 in worker camps and working sites, 17 at businesses and factories, 17 around markets and shopping centres, 12 in residential areas, two at care homes and one at a naval academy.

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