A DOCTOR at Siriraj Hospital,Mahidol University, warned in a Facebook post today (Oct. 30) that the big jump in turning Bangkok from deep red maximum and strict control zone to the blue tourism pilot scheme category thus allowing alcohol to be served in hotels and restaurants will certainly trigger superspreading events, Siam Rath newspaper said.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nithipat Jearakul, head of the Department of Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis, Internal Medicine Faculty, said the medical sector and local people are concerned about this big switch in Bangkok’s Covid category.
Although the number of patients in the metropolis continues to slowly decline, there are still a number of severely/critically ill patients in the system, he said, adding that large hospitals have now adjusted their capacity to accept more non-Covid patients with this leaving limited capacity for severely ill Covid patients.
This then means the capacity could not be expanded to cope with additional Covid patients as occurred earlier this year.
Dr. Nithipat pointed out that in turning Bangkok into a blue zone there will no longer be curfew from Nov. 1 and any number of people could go to public places.
Read earlier report: Curfew only remains in 7 provinces; Bangkok a ‘blue zone’ to receive tourists
What is being heavily discussed is allowing alcohol to be served in hotels and restaurants because this could be the source of new waves of infection to go by lessons from the past both here and overseas.
This activity puts both service providers and service recipients at risk of violating disease control measures through removing face masks and having unprotected contact with various objects plus more dangerously so talking loudly and singing which leads to droplets spreading all around.
He guaranteed that if just one infected person joined such a gathering it would turn into a superspreading event.
The doctor urged that in the first phase Bangkok should be reopened gradually with public alcohol consumption being limited to places where disease control measures are in place and limiting the opening hours and the number of people who could go in at one time.
An article at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/ina.12946 shows that if the ventilation system in a room is not good the diffusion of aerosols to those around them is farther than previously believed, reaching two metres. Even in an open area outside the building where the air is either still or there is a weak wind the dispersion of aerosols could be at the same level as in a room, he warned.
Meanwhile the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said there were 9,224 new Covid cases and 88 deaths in the 24 hours to this morning taking the cumulative confirmed total to 1,903,165.
Of the new batch of patients 9,217 were among the general public, 126 fell sick in prison or detention centres while seven foreign arrivals tested positive.
The additional 88 fatalities raised the death toll to 19,158.
Another 8,305 patients were cured taking total recoveries to 1,783,875 while 100,132 are still undergoing treatment, up from less than 100,000 yesterday Of this total 45,354 were in hospital and 54,598 in field hospitals and other facilities with 2,217 being critically ill and 496 using ventilators.
Top: Slashing lights at a pub. Photo: Phil (CC BY 2.0)
Home Page: A table at a Bangkok pub. Photo: Thai Rath