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Thailand: In an effort to declare the virus endemic within four months, the Public Health Ministry is allowing hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients as outpatients.
Permanent secretary for public health, Kiatiphum Wongrajit, said the outpatient scheme aimed at people infected with Covid-19 is tentatively scheduled to begin on March 1.
People suspected of being infected will be screened with an antigen test kit (ATK) and, if the result is positive, doctors will recommend Favipiravir or Fah Talai Jone, or other medications based on their symptoms.
The planned outpatient service is part of the ministry’s plan to downgrade Covid-19 into a self-care disease.
In Chiang Mai and Phuket, several Covid-19 patients are receiving treatment at home, and Siriraj Hospital is preparing a similar system in which patients with mild symptoms will be isolated at home.
In some cases, at-risk groups may also be treated as outpatients, depending on the doctors’ assessments.
Covid-19 Outpatients in Thailand
According to Somsak Akkasilp, the Director-General of the Department of Medical Services, the ministry is in the process of drafting guidelines for medical care for Covid-19 outpatients.
According to him, the move follows guidelines on the treatment of young Covid-19 patients published by the Paediatric Society of Thailand, which states that children below 15 years can be treated as outpatients.
There will be discussions with the Royal College of Paediatricians Thailand, the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand, and the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
He said the government will not eliminate the home and community isolation programs.
The treatment of Covid-19 changes based on the situation, according to Dr. Somsak, noting that the ministry would not have considered this option if the dominant strain were Delta, which causes moderate to severe symptoms.
Approximately 90% of patients are mildly ill, don’t need hospitalization and can be followed up with. So, we’re considering following the Royal College of Paediatricians Thailand.