Thailand sends COVID-19 patients to hometowns by train

Jul 27, 2021, 1:59 AM | Updated: 7:55 am
Health workers prepare their protective gear before a group of people infected with COVID-19 arrive...

Health workers prepare their protective gear before a group of people infected with COVID-19 arrive at Rangsit train station in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Thai authorities began transporting some people who have tested positive with the coronavirus from Bangkok to their hometowns on Tuesday for isolation and treatment, to alleviate the burden on the capital’s overwhelmed medical system. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

BANGKOK (AP) — Authorities in Thailand began transporting some people who tested positive for the coronavirus from Bangkok to their hometowns on Tuesday for isolation and treatment to alleviate the burden on the capital’s overwhelmed medical system.

A train carrying more than 100 patients and medical workers in full protective gear left the city for the northeast.

It will drop patients off in seven provinces, where they will be met by health officers and taken to hospitals.

Medical authorities in Bangkok said Monday that all ICU beds for COVID-19 patients at public hospitals were full and that some of the sick were being treated in emergency rooms. Officials said they have asked army medics to help out at civilian hospitals.

“These are patients from Bangkok who haven’t received treatment in hospitals. We want to bring them to doctors in their hometowns. And the traveling process is controlled all through the journey,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who was on hand to watch the operation.

“We will continue this service until no COVID-19 patients who cannot get beds in Bangkok are left,” he said.

He said buses, vans and even aircraft might be deployed to send people back to less badly affected provinces.

Thailand initially kept coronavirus cases in check but outbreaks have flared in recent months.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government is facing harsh criticism over its handling of a delta variant-fueled surge and slow vaccination program, amid reports of people dying in the streets or in their homes while waiting for treatment.

Of Thailand’s total of nearly 500,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,000 fatalities, 137,263 cases and 2,176 deaths have been recorded in Bangkok.

Most of the 4,451 beds for COVID-19 patients in the city of about 15 million are occupied by people with mild or no symptoms. Hospitals are beginning to urge such patients to isolate at home or in community isolation centers.

Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang said the city government will coordinate with the State Railway to install 240 beds in 15 railway carriages in a maintenance shed in the city’s huge Bang Sue station as a “pre-admission center” for coronavirus patients without symptoms.

He visited the station on Tuesday to inspect the carriages. He said they should be ready for use by Friday.

The government said supplies of medical oxygen are sufficient and manufacturers have been asked to ensure enough is available. But people ill with coronavirus who are unable to find places for treatment are not always able to get supplemental oxygen.

Meanwhile, some temples in the devoutly Buddhist country have begun to offer free cremations as the number of deaths rises, the government said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Anti-Japan protesters on disputed islands march near the Japanese Consulate General in Shang...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: What’s behind strained China-Japan relations

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and China on Thursday mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 normalization of their ties, but there isn’t much of a celebratory mood. Improved ties between Asia’s two biggest economies are considered vital to the region’s stability and prosperity, but they remain at odds over disputed East China Sea islands and […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Pollution from Florida mining a concern with Hurricane Ian

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes ashore in the state, environmental groups say. Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks, most of them concentrated in […]
23 hours ago
This GOES-East GeoCcolor satellite image taken at 10:10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, and pr...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian nears Florida coast, threatening floods, winds

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida residents rushed to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and flee from oncoming Hurricane Ian, fearing the monstrous storm that knocked out power to all of Cuba and left 11 million people without power would slam into their state’s west coast with catastrophic winds and […]
23 hours ago
FILE - The angel Moroni statue atop the Salt Lake Temple is silhouetted against a cloud-covered sky...
Associated Press

Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting

It was a frigid Sunday evening at the Catholic Newman Center in Salt Lake City when the priest warned parishioners who had gathered after Mass that their right to private confessions was in jeopardy. A new law would break that sacred bond, the priest said, and directed the parishioners to sign a one-page form letter […]
23 hours ago
This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Sirhan Sir...
Associated Press

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan challenges his parole denial

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is asking a judge on Wednesday to free him from prison by reversing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s denial of his parole earlier this year. Sirhan shot Kennedy moments after the U.S. senator from New York claimed victory in California’s pivotal […]
23 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Thailand sends COVID-19 patients to hometowns by train