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Thailand’s Covid-19 Coronavirus Cases Surpass One Million Mark



Health Official Warns Covid Cases Could Reach 70,000 Daily in Thailand

Thailand’s Government Health Ministry said on Friday There were 240 new Covid-related fatalities and 19,851 new cases over the past 24 hours taking the total number of coronavirus cases over a million.

Since the pandemic started early last year, there have been 1,009,710 Covid-19 cases, 795,805 of whom have completely already recovered. The total death toll from the beginning of the pandemic early last year as of Friday sits at 8,826.

The first domestic case on Jan 12 last year was a 61-year Chinese woman from Wuhan where Covid-19 had first been detected the previous month. Then, the first Thai to test positive was on Jan 31 after a 50-year-old taxi driver drove an infected arrival from Wuhan to hospital.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society on Friday said there are several lessons the country must learn from the mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis after Thailand reached the grim milestone of more than one million accumulated cases.

Dr Supat Hasuwannakit, the chief of Rural Doctors Society, said that it proves that no country in the world is safe, despite Thailand’s early confidence that it had succeeded in containing the first wave of the pandemic.

Irresponsible Vaccine Procurement

Mistakes involving later, more contagious variants put the country on alert, he said.

“Another lesson is that we failed to take advantage of an opportunity to prepare when the pandemic slowed down. We did not learn from other countries enough. When the third wave struck in April, chaos ensued with a lack of vaccine preparations, medical management and proactive testing,” Dr Supat said.

He also criticized Gen. Pryaut’s government for its irresponsible procurement of vaccines from AstraZeneca, saying it underestimated both availability and demand.

His government originally only ordered only 3 million doses per month, and then five and now ten million doses per month.

“In order for Prayut’s government to prevent the situation from worsening any further, it must procure as many vaccine doses as possible quickly. Although mRNA and viral vector vaccines would be preferable, Sinovac and Sinopharm can also help reduce death rates.

Mixing and matching different vaccines can actually help,” he said.

Nimit Tien-udom, director of the Aids Access Foundation and member of the National Health Security board, said that the government must lift the lockdown and allow activities and businesses to resume.

He said that the current lockdown restrictions have achieved little so the government should review the measures and allow people to resume their normal lives while ramping up vaccinations for all.

Severe Impact of the Pandemic in Thailand

Suchatvee Suwansawat, rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said that Thailand was not the first country hit by the severe impacts of the pandemic.

Several countries and regions such as China, Europe and the US suffered the worst effects of the pandemic before Thailand. Thailand had the time to learn from their experiences and should have handled the pandemic better.

But as it happened, lessons were not learned after the new wave triggered by clusters at camps for construction workers and night entertainment venues, he said.

“The government should not rely solely on medical professionals’ advice. It should brainstorm ideas from all sectors to look at what direction the world will move in and how the country should prepare. The government should gather opinions from a variety of experts and use them for national planning,” Mr Suchatvee said.

Supensri Phungkhoksoong, director of the Social Equality Promotion Foundation, said that the pandemic has had a widespread impact, leaving many penniless and unemployed.

“There has been a sharp rise in street sleepers among those with no money to pay their rent,” she said, adding that the government should find ways to help ease their plight such as by offering debt moratoriums and finding ways to create jobs for them.

She also said budget spending by state agencies should be reviewed and funds should be diverted to assist needy people.

“Covid-19 is now a national agenda item. The government and private sector must work together to achieve the aim [of economic recovery]. Some regulations should be relaxed for the sake of everyone’s survival,” Ms Supensri said.

Source: Bangkok Post, CTN News

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