As Covid-19 infections cause hospital bed shortages in Bangkok, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said earlier today not to worry as the Thai health system won’t collapse.
Anutin also did not know hospital shortages had stopped Covid-19 testing at several area hospitals, after hospital administrators said they didn’t want to test people for Covid as there were no beds available for them.
Anutin pleaded ignorance even though there have been reports all over the media of Thai hospital administrators saying they were halting Covid-19 testing due to an increasing number of positive tests, and scarce beds available for any person that needed them.
In true Anutin style, instead of admitting the health system is in crisis and coming up with a plan to save it, he then blamed people for using the word “collapse” and said everyone should work together instead to solve the problem.
He also added the Health Ministry would not allow the health system to collapse.
Thai health system situation is critical as number of available hospital beds in Bangkok fall
A number of Thai doctors have also come out in recent days saying the Thai health system situation is critical, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
Several are now advocating a complete lockdown of Bangkok for at least seven days in an attempt to improve the situation.
Thai government officials, however, believe a lockdown could make the situation even worse as those who are not working would travel home to other Thai provinces potentially spreading the virus there.
They also believe a Bangkok lockdown could cause the country’s dire economic situation to worsen even further.
The Delta variant in Thailand
Meanwhile, the more contagious Covid-19 Delta variant in Thailand is causing increasing case numbers, with 491 Delta variant cases in Bangkok alone and 170 others throughout Thailand.
According to Dr Supakit Sirila, head of the Thai Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), the Delta variant is likely to become the dominant variant in Thailand in the next few months.
To some western observers it is strange, however, that Thai hospitals are filling beds with people who have tested positive for Covid-19 but are either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms — the s0-called ‘green patients’.
Unlike in more developed countries, where people who test positive for Covid, but have no or mild symptoms, are simply told to go home, rest and self-isolate for 14 days.
With thousands of people who are not particularly ill now taking up hospital beds in Thailand, it is little wonder then there are few beds available for those who have severe symptoms.
According to Dr Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, there are only 23 beds left at state hospitals for Covid-19 patients suffering severe symptoms.
Sinovac vaccine has been used to vaccinate a large number of Thais
Another worry is that many Thais have been vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.
A vaccine that is believed to have not protected more than 350 Indonesian doctors, nurses and other health staff — all of whom were vaccinated with Sinovac and contracted Covid-19 at a later time.
With the Thai health system now potentially in danger of collapse, it now remains to be seen if the situation worsens or if the Health Department, in conjunction with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Bangkok hospitals, are able to get the situation under control.