New COVID-19 infections leapt to 789 today, as a million more vaccine doses arrive
The number of daily new COVID-19 infections in Thailand is increasing dramatically, with 789 being recorded today, compared to 559 cases yesterday, as a new batch of one million much needed doses of Sinovac vaccine from China arrived in Bangkok today.
Disease Control Department Director-General Dr. Opas Karnkavinpong said that most of the new cases are in the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups and asymptomatic, or with only mild symptoms, such as a runny nose and red eyes but without fever and, therefore, they tend to transmit the disease unknowingly.
He said that the UK variant of the virus, linked to entertainment outlet clusters, has now spread to 62 of Thailand’s 77 provinces, infecting 2,697 people, including 1,058 in Bangkok alone.
Even though some private hospitals are now full, Dr. Opas assured that the Ministry of Public Health has no policy of letting the infected quarantine at home and will try to find facilities, such as field hospitals, to accommodate them.
Several provinces, including Bangkok, have been preparing space to set up field hospitals, in case general hospitals becomeoverwhelmed.
In Bangkok, Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said today that the City’s field hospitals can accommodate up to 5,000 patients and can expand to 10,000, with some hotels to be converted into field hospitals.
Dr. Sooksant Kittisupakorn, director of the Medical Service Office, admitted that the third wave of the pandemic is the worst experienced in Thailand since early last year.
Regarding vaccinations, Dr. Opas said that the new batch, ordered by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, will be examined by the Food and Drugs Administration to ensure safety and efficacy, and distributed for inoculation of frontline health officials in high-risk areas, to provinces which are planning to receive foreign tourists, under the “sandbox” travel bubble program, and to other high-risk groups.
For those who plan to travel now and during Songkran, he advised them to check first whether there are travel restrictions in their destination provinces, to avoid getting stuck in quarantine.
So far, 29 provinces have imposed quarantine for external arrivals. They include Kamphaeng Phet, Chiang Mai, Tak, Nan, Phayao, Lamphun, Uthai Thani, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Phanom, Bung Karn, Buri Ra, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Loei, Sakhon Nakhon, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Amnat Charoen, Chai Nat, Saraburi, Chumpon, Trang, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phang-nga and Songkhla.
Cumulative infections, since early last year, stand at 31,658, with 28,161 recoveries. 3,400 are still being treated in hospitals and the death toll is 97.