Bangkok lockdown proposal not yet accepted due to economic concerns

A fish vendor pushes her cart in the Chinatown area of Bangkok on May 28, 2021. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

The Thai government has not yet decided to go forward with a proposal, made by a prominent doctor, for a one-week lockdown of Bangkok amid rising COVID-19 cases, citing concerns over economic impacts of the measure, said Gen. Nattaphon Narkphanit, who heads a Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) sub-committee.

Gen. Nattaphon said the “bubble-and-seal” approach will remain in use, but with stricter measures, with details to be discussed at a meeting today, while the lockdown proposal will remain “under consideration”.

Yesterday, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nitipatana Chierakul, chief of the respiratory disease and tuberculosis division of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, posted on Facebook that a lockdown of Bangkok is the “best answer” to the current situation, which he called “desperate.”

Regarding the current hospital bed shortage in the capital, Gen. Nattaphon said that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is coordinating with the Public Health Ministry to transfer patients with mild symptoms, or those who are asymptomatic, to “hospitels”, which still have a lot of vacant beds.

Beds in field hospitals in Bangkok will be enhanced to accommodate patients with moderate to severe and symptoms, he said, while asking private hospitals to help out, due to the limited resources of the Bangkok authorities.

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