Bangkok governor under pressure to limit crowds amid rising Covid infections

Conversations are intensifying between Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and Bangkok’s new governor over the growing number of Covid cases, primarily fueled by the recent BA.4 and BA.4 subvariants of Omicron (a variant of the SARS-CoV-2). The call comes at a time when the variant is causing a new wave of Covid infections in Europe, the UK and the US, also in Brazil, and more locally in Japan and South Korea.

Today, the Ministry of Public Health is taking action to get the Governor and the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority to take further steps to limit contact and minimize a possible resurgence of the virus.

In the absence of general mass testing, health authorities assume that there are likely hundreds of thousands of new unreported infections and that the real situation is likely much more widespread than they can accurately assess for the moment.

The Ministry of Public Health is likely to initially call for limiting large crowd gatherings and group activities.

Reflecting similar trends in the latest surges of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants in the UK and Europe, the Department of Public Health reports that 42% of inpatient Covid patients in hospitals in Bangkok are “seriously ill or “pose a danger of death”. symptoms”, mainly of a respiratory nature.

More than 2,000 people a day are now treated in hospitals in Thailand, more than half of them in the capital. But health authorities note that, despite the increase in the number of hospitalizations, and even more serious cases, the number of deaths is not increasing at the same rate, at this stage.

Patients in “serious condition” have risen from 677 to 785 in the past week. Patients dependent on ventilators, and considered in “critical condition”, went from 299 to 352 last Saturday.

Hospital occupancy in Thailand is averaging 13% at the moment, in Bangkok it has risen sharply to 42% in the last month alone, according to figures cited in the Bangkok Post.

Authorities also expressed concerns over the “poor timing” of the recent 5-day long weekend. Today, Thais, taking advantage of the 5-day break, return to work after returning home for the break. Last Wednesday and Thursday were Thai religious holidays. Most public offices and schools have made Friday a day off, creating a 5-day break.

But many see the Public Health Ministry’s interference in Bangkok’s affairs as politically motivated, given the Bangkok governor’s landslide victory over the government’s favored candidates, including candidates favored by the health minister. public Anutin Charnvirakul of the Bhumjaithai party.

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