CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Public Health Minister Dr Rajata Rajatanavin has ordered state-run hospitals throughout Thailand to stay on alert as holidaymakers are preparing to return to their hometowns or enjoy the five-day holidays, starting from the New Year’s Eve to next January 4.
The number of victims, particularly road accident, are usually high during the New Year’s celebrations as people leave to visit their relatives, he said.
Many of them have already left Bangkok since Friday to avoid traffic jams.
People who need medical help can call the 1669 hotline round-the-clock free of charge and they don’t need to worry about paying hospital fees because it is sponsored by the government, he said.
Deputy director-general of the Ministry’s Disease Control Department Dr Nopporn Cheanklin said holidaymakers should avoid consuming alcohol at least one day before making a journey as well as medicines which could cause drowsiness.
They should also remember to wear safety belts and to strictly follow traffic rules, said Dr Nopporn.
Official statistics showed a total of 3,174 road accidents, 366 persons killed and 3,345 injured during the 2014 New Year’s holiday period last year.
New Year 2010: 347 deaths, 3,827 injuries and 3,534 accidents
New Year 2011: 358 deaths, 3,750 injuries and 3,497 accidents
New Year 2012: 336 deaths, 3,375 injuries and 3,093 accidents
New Year 2013: 365 deaths, 3,329 injuries and 3,176 accidents