Thai health officials seek lockdown of eastern region for 28 days

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will ask Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to impose lockdown restrictions on the entire eastern region of Thailand for 28 days, to stop the continuing surge of COVID-19 infections.

Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said today (Saturday) that the measure is necessary because many people at risk of being infected have concealed their involvement in activities which put them at risk, while others have refused to report to health officials for screening.

He said that 99% of the infections in Rayong, Chon Buri and Chanthaburi are linked to illegal gambling dens.

The proposed lockdown measures would include travel restrictions, to prevent people in the three provinces from leaving, unless doing so is absolutely necessary, said Satit.

The deputy public health minister was in Chon Buri province today to accept the delivery of a field hospital, from the Royal Thai Navy, in the compound of the Phra Maha Chesdaratchao barracks.

The hospital was set up with 120 beds to accommodate COVID-19 in-patients, after the provincial hospitals became overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, a well-known virologist from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Yong Pooworavan, stressed the need for more field hospitals, as he urged local people not to protest the presence of such facilities in their localities.

He said that the outbreak this time is much more serious than the one last year, so there is a need for field hospitals, adding that, during his observation trips to Samut Sakhon province, he discovered that 20% of the infected were in serious condition and 3-5% required beds in intensive care units.

Regarding the use of serum from recovered patients to treat those who are infected, Dr. Yong said, to be effective, it must be administered in the initial stage of infection, before the patients develop their own anti-bodies.

He disclosed that the Thai Red Cross Society has produced an amount of the serum, from plasma donated by recovered patients, to be used in a volunteer trial.

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