Thailand to turn Bangkok terminal into hospital as COVID worsens

Thailand plans to convert a terminal at the country’s main international airport into a field hospital as an upsurge in coronavirus infections that are straining the country’s public health system shows little sign of easing.

Airports of Thailand, operator of Suvarnabhumi International Airport, has been asked to convert the newly completed terminal into a facility with an intensive care unit, medical wards and support for patients with mild to moderate symptoms . The hospital will initially provide at least 5,000 patient beds, according to a government statement on Tuesday evening.

Medical facilities are already at full capacity and deaths could double by August if the outbreak does not subside, Kumnuan Ungchusak, epidemiology expert and health ministry adviser, told a seminar last week. . Most cases have emerged in Bangkok, which continues to report the highest number of infections and deaths each day.

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The spread of the delta variant, which is expected to become the most dominant strain as early as August, has hampered efforts to contain the outbreak. With the mutated strain set to spread to other provinces, the daily number of cases could rise to 10,000 from next week, Apisamai Srirangsan, spokesperson for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said on Wednesday in a statement. briefing.

Separately, Thailand’s COVID task force has said it will review proposals to lock virus hotspots in Bangkok and surrounding areas once health officials submit them. Last month, the panel refrained from implementing a lockdown in Bangkok and instead imposed tighter restrictions on construction sites and restaurants.

Daily infections and deaths in Thailand set new records this month, with infections being exacerbated by the spread of the most contagious delta variant. About 90% of the country’s 301,172 cumulative COVID-19 cases have occurred since April, with 6,519 reported on Wednesday.

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