19 July 2024

People have been queuing, since 8pm last night, to get free COVID-19 tests at Phra Si Mahathat Wora Maha Viharn Temple in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district. The venue can, however, only screen 900 people per day.

The Bang Khen district office, under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), set up a free COVID-19 testing centre at the temple on Monday (July 5th). Many people have been showing up since.

Those who queued up early said that there should be more COVID-19 testing locations, as many people are having to wait a long time to get tested. They also said that they arrived at 8pm last night to get their queue numbers and that they had to wait on the footpath of Pahonyothin Road, in front of the temple.

“It’s quite hard on us. Some people don’t live nearby and we have to sit outside, on the roadside. It’s not right. There should be better treatment,” a young woman told Thai PBS.

“We need to take turns going to the toilet. Whenever we leave our spot, the queue moves. We didn’t want to be a bother to people behind us,” she added about her group of four.

Many more people came to get their queue numbers, until midnight, when some of them had to leave and return for a second day, as they didn’t get tested.

“It should have been managed better. We had to come at night and are not sleeping because, if we come late in the morning, we won’t get the queue number and will have to wait in line for another day,” a woman said, adding “those in high-risk groups, who may need a certificate for their work, are in need of a speedy test.”

The people also demanded that authorities re-organise the screening process, because they could not get tested at hospitals, which usually costs up to 2,000 baht per test. They also reflected that online bookings should be organised, similar to registration for COVID-19 vaccination.