Lawmakers and NGO’s have slammed the Thai government accusing it of allowing public health services to collapse after three people were found dead on Bangkok streets, one infected with Covid-19 and left lying on the road for many hours before an ambulance finally arrived.
The infected man collapsed in the morning and later died as rescuers tried to revive him. He lay on the road for 12 hours. Tests later found he was infected with Covid-19, metropolitan police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon. He had no identification on him.
Former Human Rights Commission member Angkhana Neelapaijit on Wednesday called the government “cold hearted” on her Facebook page. She said people had been left out on the streets without any chance of getting healthcare.
Move Forward spokesman and Bangkok MP Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat said Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha had no plan to handle the health crisis that had led to people dying in the streets.
Their criticism came after three people were found dead in Bangkok streets on Tuesday, two of them in Phra Nakhon district and the other in Klong Toey district.
The most mentioned case on social media was a man who collapsed and later died in the middle of Soi Ban Phan Thom, off Phra Sumeru Road.
Chana Songkhram police chief Pol Col Sanong Sanemanee told the Bangkok Post that the man died about 5pm despite emergency responders’ efforts to keep him alive. An ambulance did not arrive until 10.30pm, and took away the body.
Health services taking hours
A Facebook account named Phuri Phatara said the ill man had lain in the middle of the street since 10am. Rescuers arrived about four hours later. Another body was found on the footpath of Ratchadamneon Avenue, near the landmark Democracy Monument.
The cause of death in each case was not known. However, ambulances adapted to handle coronavirus patients were used in each case to collect the body and ensure the safety of rescuers and medics.
On Wednesday morning, shortly after midnight, Kanit Chumchuay, the thetsakit chief for the district, defended the long delay in the ambulances arriving. He said it was caused by the ever-increasing demand for ambulances. The service was overstretched.
The Poh Tech Tung Foundation was on duty on Tuesday night, but had only one ambulance equipped with Covid-protection kits and it had to collect eight other bodies before taking the three unclaimed bodies to hospital.
Covid-19 Tests on Dead
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) said on Wednesday afternoon that the man who died in the middle of the road had been taken to Vachira Hospital, where a sample taken from his body tested positive for Covid-19. He was carrying no identification.
The MPB press statement said the body found on Ratchadamneon Avenue was identified as Seree Ruengroterit, 59, from Rayong, and the Covid-19 test was negative.
Police were alerted to the Ratchadamneon case at 6.30pm and arrived at the scene five minutes later. The dead man was transported to Vachira Hospital at 8pm. The body in Klong Toey was found on the footpath outside the Tesco store on Rama IV Road at 8.30pm, the MPB said.
A test at Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital was negative. The man’s name was unknown. Police believed he had died between two and four hours before police arrived at the scene, the statement said.