Thailand may have infection numbers “3-4 times higher” than government-declared total

Experts say that Thailand may have Covid-19 infection numbers 3-4 times higher than the total number declared by the government per day, according to insiders within the healthcare sector.

According to a doctor at the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services group, experts at the Private Hospitals Association meeting on Wednesday suggested that the real number of Covid-19 infections could be much higher than that being declared by the government.

“We have no idea what the total number is but it could literally be 3 to 4 times higher than what is being declared based on the statistics we have gathered at our hospitals,” the doctor said on condition of anonymity.

“The reason we don’t know is because private hospitals don’t have the capacity or the mandate to do widespread testing, we can only test people that come to our hospitals,” said the doctor who asked not to be named. “In April, we had infection rates around 10 per cent of people that were tested. Now it is much closer to 20 per cent.”

Thailand’s government said that the country saw 6,464 new covid infections in the general public on Wednesday.

“We do not know for sure what the actual number is we can only judge it by the rate of infections and by the numbers we see that come to get tested at the hospital,” said Dr Suwadee Puntpanich, a director at Thonburi Bamrungmuang Hospital which is part of the Thonburi Healthcare Group.

“But in our hospitals, we have people lining up since 3 am to get tested in the morning as we have a limited number of tests. Of those that we do test, there are days when over half are found to be infected.”

If the experts working for the Private Hospital Groups are correct, Thailand’s reopening plans for October may need to be shelved until the population can be vaccinated and protected against further infections.

Thailand is currently in the midst of the third, most severe, wave of the pandemic with nearly 300,000 people infected since April 1.

The government has introduced staggered lockdown measures but it has not been able to keep down the rate of infection.

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