WITH the Covid count staying high at 8,167 cases and 14 deaths today (Jan. 14) the Public Health Ministry warned that the key risk points in Bangkok are dormitories, police flats, restaurant-cum-pubs and poorly-ventilated restaurants or those running contaminated air-conditioners, Thai Rath newspaper said.
The Ministry’s Disease Control Department also revealed that the Omicron variant clusters are increasing in the provinces with around 300 people getting infected at a housewarming ceremony in Sakon Nakhon while 170 caught the infection at a Mor Lam concert in Nakhon Phanom with 200 at risk of doing so and many villages locked down.
As expected Covid cases have risen in the New Year with over 8,000 people getting infected with both Delta and Omicron variants daily but the latter has now overtaken the former because it spreads faster.
The department also mentioned the situation in the US where federal health authorities said last week that the Omicron variant is so contagious it is likely most people in the US will be infected, and compared the pandemic to a “natural disaster”.
The department added that there is now a labour shortage in the US and food prices have soared with healthcare pushed to the limit leading to doctors who have got infected but are asymptomatic having to treat patients.
Regarding the Covid situation in Thailand, today’s 8,167 new cases raised the cumulative confirmed total to 2,300,457 while altogether 2,207,980 patients have recovered.
Today’s 14 fatalities, eight male and six female, increased the death toll to 21,883.
A total of 107,771,259 doses of vaccines have been administered so far.
The top ten provinces with the highest number of Covid cases last Sunday Jan. 9 are Chonburi 832, Bangkok 790, Samut Prakan 625, Nonthaburi 468, Phuket 381, Khon Kaen 337, Ubon Ratchathani 281, Nakhon Si Thammarat 216, Pathum Thani 184 and Chiang Mai 832.
Dr. Suthat Chotanaphan, director of the Institute of Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Disease Control, said the risk points in Bangkok are communities, enclosed outlets with these mainly being restaurant-cum-pubs, especially pubs that asked to change to a restaurant because they could then serve food till 11 p.m. even though they have to stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. But most of them are not well ventilated with their air-conditioners often being contaminated.
He added that the death toll in Bangkok from April 1, 2021 till Jan. 6, 2022 totalled 6,905 and among them were 4,266 who were not vaccinated while 940 were fully so.
Most health workers who got infected did so through communities or people they are close to but not through taking care of patients. Latest count from the end of December till today shows 47 health workers caught Covid with 32 undergoing treatment at state hospitals and 15 at private hospitals. Most have received three jabs, some four. However none of them are in severe condition.
At Bangkok City Hall, spokesman Pol. Lt. Col. Pongsakorn Kwanmuang together with Dr. Suksan Kittisupakorn, director of the Bangkok Medical Office, and Dr. Panarudee Manomaiphiboon, director of the Department of Health, said there were 790 Covid cases in the metropolis today with the average over seven days being 647.
Proactive tests of 4,000 people found 1-2 percent infection rate with transmission having occurred at two places, either communities or at parties and get-togethers at restaurants that serve alcohol. However there are currently no clusters at workers camps and factories.
Of the 10,000 beds available in the city 1,700-1,800 are occupied but this total could be increased to 20,000 if need be.
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Home Page: A health worker performing a Covid test. Photos: Thai Rath