Songkran in Pattaya has been quiet with only birds crowding the beaches instead of humans as more people stay home to protect themselves. Chonburi is one of the hotspots with more than 100 Covid-19 cases daily in the third wave, which was sparked last month.
Bangkok authorities on Wednesday issued advice to residents on how to self-isolate at home if they fall victim to the third wave of Covid-19.
Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said that anyone infected must isolate themselves for 10 days – the period in which the virus is transmissible.
He said infected people living at home with a large family should take the following four steps:
1. Separate your bedroom from the rest of the house.
2. Do not eat with other people in the house.
3. Separate garbage, as waste produced by the infected person is considered infectious.
4. Use a separate toilet. If there is no separate toilet, let the infected person use the toilet last and wash it every time after use, particularly the washbasins and toilet seat.
Infected people who live alone in a house or condo can use a food delivery service. But they must wear a mask while in contact with delivery staff and wash hands often.
Those who live in condominiums should notify the juristic person and avoid using common areas. Everyone indoors should wear masks, wash their hands and keep their distance. The juristic person must advise residents to be careful, and must also spray-sterilise common areas and properly manage infectious waste.
People can contact the following hotline numbers for advice: Covid-19 situation at the Bangkok Health Office Hotline (02) 203 2393 or (02) 203 2396 or (02) 203 2883 and (02) 245 4964 (24 Hours), BKK COVID-19 website hotline (02) 203 2393 and (02) 203 2396 (service hours 8am-10pm).
People with Covid-19 symptoms should contact the Erawan Centre, Bangkok 1646. People at risk of exposure to infectious cases can call the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at 097 046 7549 and the Department of Disease Control at 1422.
Infected patients can get more advice on self-isolation at the Medical Department Hotline 1668, the National Institute of Emergency Medicine 1669 or the NHSO 1330 hotline, 24 hours a day.
The Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry has turned 37 universities and institutes under its supervision nationwide into field hospitals and quarantine facilities. This is in response to rising Covid-19 cases in the new wave that was sparked in late March.
Wednesday saw the highest number of new confirmed cases at 1,335, driving the total number of cases in Thailand up to 35,910.
“Every agency under the ministry has been instructed to survey suitable locations that can serve as additional field hospitals, as the ministry is committed to containing the outbreak as soon as possible,” Minister Anek Laothamatas said on Wednesday.
The 37 universities and educational institutes that have been converted into field hospitals can accommodate 12,822 patients.
The sites are scattered across the country in major provinces, including Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Lampang, Nakhon Nayok, Amnat Charoen, Surin, Udon Thani, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala.
Despite scattered showers in different parts of the country recently, the water level in large and medium-sized reservoirs is fairly low, Dr Thaweesak Thanadechopol, deputy director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said on Wednesday.
Dams currently hold 37.206 billion cubic meters of water or 49 per cent of their combined capacity. Of this, only about 13.277 billion cubic meters is useable. Of the large dams in the country, 17 have less than 30 per cent of useable water, namely Bhumibol, Sirikit, Mae Kuang, Kiew Kho Ma, Khwae Noi, Mae Mok, Huai Luang, Nam Un, Chulabhorn, Ubonrat, Lam Pao, Pasak, Thap Salao, Srinakarin, Vajiralongkorn, Khun Dan and Khlong Si Yat.
The Royal Irrigation Department has called on officials to monitor the water situation in their areas closely and strictly manage water consumption based on the allocation plan. More than 15.2 billion cubic meters or 81 per cent of water available has been allocated and 9.7 million litres distributed to 237 drought-hit villages in 51 provinces.
People are being urged to conserve water so there is enough for everyone during the dry season.
The National Security Council (NSC) and the Public Health Ministry are brainstorming over imposing new measures to tackle the rising number of infections.
On Wednesday, NSC secretary-general Nattapol Nakpanit said the two sides are discussing the option of imposing a lockdown on high-risk provinces, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Prachuap Khiri Khan, in a bid to curb infections.
Nattapol also said the premier has told NSC to be ready for intensive measures.
Eight provinces have been named hotspots because their number of recent cases in the third wave has exceeded 100, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said on Wednesday.
Since April 1, 5,712 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed with most patients being asymptomatic or having mild symptoms. Most infections are believed to have been picked up at entertainment venues like pubs, bars, karaoke outlets as well as among students who visited high-risk areas during school vacations.
Bangkok has the highest number of cases in the third wave at 1,687, with 64 per cent linked to entertainment venues, followed by 880 patients and 52 per cent from nightspots in Chiang Mai, 594 and 48 per cent in Chonburi, 416 and 49 per cent in Samut Prakan, 304 patients but zero from entertainment venues in Narathiwat, 265 and 74 per cent in Prachuap Khiri Khan, 116 and 16 per cent in Samut Sakhon and 124 and 40 per cent in Pathum Thani.
Dr Opas called on people who have returned to their hometowns for Songkran holidays to keep their guards up as infections among family members are rising. Dr Opas has also urged people in at-risk provinces to work from home for at least two weeks and maintain protective measures.
Laxity in following preventive measures could increase cases to 28,000 daily
The Department of Disease Control and International Health Policy Program agency have created a mathematical model to estimate the number of daily Covid-19 cases in 2021, based on four main measures. The model considers five possible situations.
The results of the study showed the likely number of new patients daily for the next month.
Case 1: No theoretical measures
— 9,140 projected average cases per day, with lowest 1,308 cases per day and maximum 28,678.
Case 2: Closed entertainment venues in risky provinces
— 2,996 projected average cases per day with 817 the lowest and 7,244 maximum.
Case 3: Closed entertainment venues in risky provinces and focus on personal behaviour adjustments
— 934 projected average cases per day with 475 cases per day the lowest and maximum 1,589.
Case 4: Closure of entertainment venues in risky provinces, adjusting personal behaviour and reducing public gathering activities
— 593 projected average cases per day with lowest of 378 per day and 857 maximum.
Case 5: Closed entertainment venues in risky provinces, focus on personal behaviour adjustment, reducing group activities and working from home
— 391 projected average cases per day with 303 the lowest per day and 484 the maximum.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Wednesday reported 1,335 new cases, with only nine from overseas.
Bangkok led the list with 351 new patients, followed by 319 in Chiang Mai and 161 in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Over the past 24 hours, 34 patients recovered and were discharged.
As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand had risen to 35,910. Of these, 32,689 were contracted locally, including 18,716 who were found via proactive testing, while 3,221 were returnees. So far, 28,322 have recovered and been discharged, 7,491 patients are still in hospitals, and 97 have died.Also read: Eight provinces under spotlight for rising Covid casesAccording to Worldometer, as of 11am on Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases globally had risen to 138.01 million (up by 735,486), 111.03 million have recovered, 24.01 million are active cases (106,096 in severe condition) and 2.97 million have died (up by 12,848).Thailand ranks 112th on the global list of most cases, which is topped by the US with 32.07 million, followed by India 13.87 million, Brazil 13.60 million, France 5.1 million, and Russia 4.65 million.
Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, 529 people were given their first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and 244 their second shot, bringing the total number of Covid vaccines administered to 579,305.
As many as 252 police officers have been infected with Covid-19 so far, Royal Thai Police deputy spokesperson Pol Colonel Sirikul Kritphittayaboon confirmed on Wednesday.
“Nationwide, 177 police officers have been hospitalised after contracting the virus, while 75 have been discharged,” she said.
“The bureaus that reported the most infections were the Metropolitan Police (71 officers), followed by Region 5 Provincial Police (23) and Central Investigation (20).”
Pol Colonel Sirikul Kritphittayaboon
Additionally, 1,561 officers are in quarantine as they had come into close contact with fellow officers who were infected.
“Police have been employing the work-from-home practice when applicable as suggested by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has urged all government agencies to work and hold meetings online until April 30 in a bid to keep Covid-19 from spreading further,” Sirikul said.
She suggested police officers, their family members and the general public monitor their mental health in the present situation to avoid becoming depressed.
“If you experience depression, visit the Depress We Care Facebook page or call Mental Health Hotline 1323 or 081-932-0000 for free consultation, which is available 24/7,” she added.
152 people died and 1,494 were injured in 1,465 road accidents across Thailand from April 10 to 13, the Interior Ministry said.The province with the highest accident rate was Nakhon Si Thammarat (65), while Khon Kaen saw the most deaths – 8.