12 July 2024

The deans of Thailand’s three top medical colleges today (Tuesday) urged the authorities to speed up active screening of people in slum areas in Bangkok, to separate those infected with COVID-19 from others in their communities to slow the rate of transmission.

The three deans are Prof. Dr. Prasit Watanapa, of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Prof. Dr. Suttipong Wacharasindhu, of the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University and Prof. Dr. Piyamitr Sritara of the Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital.

Expressing concern over the continuing surge in new infections in Bangkok, the three deans said that the best way to contain the spread of the disease is to separate the infected from the crowded communities through intensified active screening.

They disclosed that several medical colleges are each treating 150-300 severe cases and that there are now about 400 patients on ventilators.

The mortality among severe cases now ranges from 20-25% and as many as 100 more severe cases are expected to die if the current situation persists, as medical personnel and health officials become overstretched in treating the very sick, said the three doctors. Each medical college has adopted a rotation system, under which doctors take turns to care for the severe cases, they said.

The third wave of pandemic, which has been raging in Thailand since April, sees 15 times more cases than the two previous waves, which began early last year and in December, with a higher proportion of severe cases among all new infections, virus mutations and more contagious strains of the virus.

The deans also said that people must cooperate by getting vaccinated, to prevent the spread of the disease in families and at workplaces, adding that all medical colleges will become more active in developing a better understanding about vaccines and the need for inoculation to contain the disease.

On treatment, they said that Thai medics have gained considerable experience in treating patients and in the use of drugs, such as Favipiravir, which will only be used for serious lung inflammations, to prevent the problem of drug resistance.