12 July 2024

The Thai cabinet has decided to postpone indefinitely the Public Health Ministry’s plan to introduce a medical entitlement program for COVID-19 patients, instead of using the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP), reportedly to avoid public confusion.

The new medical entitlement program, which aimed to remove COVID-19 from the list of conditions covered by UCEP, was due to come into effect on March 1st.  It was intended to encourage people infected by the virus, who have no or mild symptoms, to use their rights under the social security scheme, the gold card program or the welfare scheme for state officials to get medical treatment.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told the media, after the cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday), that the cabinet had decided to retain the entitlement under UCEP for COVID-19 patients, so there will not be public confusion at a time when infections are surging.

To ensure public confidence, that they are still eligible for medical treatment from the state if they contract COVID-19, the minister said that he proposed an indefinite postponement of the Public Health Ministry’s plan.

He also offered an assurance that the ministry has made preparations and adjusted plans in line with the changing pandemic situation.

Thailand recorded a new high of daily COVID-19 infections for this year today (Wednesday) at 21,232, the first time the figure surpassed the 20,000-mark again since the peak in mid-August after weeks of increase.