Thai Prime Minister hosts Covid-19 discussion with maximum control zone provincial governors for possible solution, hoping to recover in 4-6 weeks

PHOTO: Siamrath

Bangkok –

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha today, July 28th, has participated in a discussion with provincial authorities in dark-red (maximum control) zone provinces such as Chonburi, except Bangkok, for potential solutions to improve the Covid-19 situation in 4-6 weeks.

The PM had reportedly met with the Bangkok governor one-on-one earlier in the week.

During today’s conference, the governors of each province had reported the infection situation and guidelines for preventing the spread of the pandemic in their respective provinces. The governor of Chachoengsao province reported that the “Bubble and Seal” system would need to be applied in factories and construction workers’ campsites as they were considered the largest clusters where workers were found to travel across the province for work.

The Samut Prakan governor also suggested the measures of allocating more vaccines to maximum control provinces without requiring a Bangkok visit, providing accommodation, and, in the worst-case scenario, a 14-day stay-at-home lockdown. The meeting mutually agreed that all provinces at high risk should implement the “Bubble and Seal” action in factories to prevent the Covid-19 spread.

The PM stressed that a total provincial lockdown, in which people could not leave their homes except with special permission, was something they wanted to avoid at this time but stated that area lockdowns could be considered, such as individual villages or places with high rates of Covid-19. However, the PM made it clear they wanted to exhaust every other possible method of control before this.

The Bubble and Seal method, in a nutshell, puts all factories and industrial estates in maximum control provinces on essentially a limited lockdown, regardless of having Covid-19 cases or not. As most factories house employees on-site or nearby, the method ensures staff does not go anywhere except to and from work and does not interact with workers from other areas. Staff may only leave the bubble with permission from health authorities. Anyone positive for Covid-19 is separated from the rest of the bubble and placed under medical supervision, regardless if they are symptomatic or not.

The Prime Minister then ordered more allocation of hospital beds for the red group of patients (most severe conditions) in all the highest controlled provinces and encouraged all provincial governors to exchange experiences and ideas to try and come up with concrete solutions.

“I hope the situation will improve in 4-6 weeks based on the current medical reports. I admit that I am also worried about the use of Antigen Test Kit by the people and how much they understand their use,” Prayut said.

The Prime Minister also advised all governors to submit the budget requests to the government immediately if there seemed to be a lack of budget for purchasing hospital beds and medical equipment in the provinces. He also ensured that Covid-19 vaccines and Favipiravir would be definitely distributed to every patient nationwide and that vaccine allocation would be increasing to the maximum control provinces in August.

Following this statement about vaccine allocation, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul mentioned at the end of the conference that the Ministry confirmed to procure at least 10 million doses per month and that allocations and distribution would be increased dramatically in August, especially in the maximum control zones, which includes Pattaya and Chonburi.

“The pandemic situation in Thailand may not be quickly recovered soon but we, the government, will try our best to control and prevent the spread as best as we can. Also, take a look at the world situation, that will help everyone understand more of the Thai Covid-19 situation,” the Prime Minister concluded.

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