Despite rising infections, Bangkok will continue with outdoor activities

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will not cancel outdoor entertainment activities for the public, despite a slight increase in daily infections in the capital, and will ask the Ministry of Public Health to ease restrictions so that the city can obtain COVID-19 medication directly, without relying on the ministry.

Last week, Public Health Permanent Secretary Kiattibhoom Vongrachit said he would invite the city governor to a meeting today (Monday) with senior health officials on the possibility of canceling or reduce gathering activities organized by the BMA.

Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said the administration has so far not detected a single case of a cluster of infections linked to outdoor activities, such as movie screenings and mini-concerts. .

He said the number of COVID-19 infections in Bangkok, identified using rapid antigen tests, remains stable, albeit with a slight increase, and remains manageable, adding that most cases occur in within families and among office colleagues.

According to Chadchart, the main issue is the availability of hospital beds for severe COVID-19 cases, saying there is no shortage of beds as most cases are asymptomatic or mild and do not require of hospitalization.

He said, however, that the only group of people who remain of concern are the elderly, people with underlying conditions and pregnant women.

The governor said risky activities are not limited to outdoor movie screenings, but include shopping malls and food outlets.

He suggested people not to let their guard down, but not to panic either, adding that the BMA is ready to work with the Department of Public Health if further precautionary measures are needed.

The governor has appointed one of his deputy permanent secretaries, dr. Wantanee Wattanato attend a meeting today with health officials at the Ministry of Public Health, adding that he would like the ministry to allow the BMA to procure COVID-19 drugs directly.

According to the Director General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong, 143,827 cases of COVID-19, detected using rapid antigen tests, received outpatient medical services as of July 10.e at 16e.

He warned, however, that the situation needs to be watched closely, noting that many people traveled upcountry over the holidays last week, possibly infecting people there. Nevertheless, schools will resume classes this week.

He revealed that 98% of deaths last week were people over 60, with underlying conditions and pregnant women, adding that there was an increase in deaths among those who had only received three doses of vaccine, their last dose having been received more than three months ago.

Meanwhile, government spokesman ThanakornWangboonkongchana said the cabinet today approved 3.995 billion baht for the purchase of 27 million tablets of Favipiravir and Molnupiravir, for around 1.296 billion baht, and 57,000 vials of Remdesivir for 21.96 million baht.

The rest of the budget is for the purchase of 165 million tablets of Favipiravir, Molnupiravir and one million rapid antigen tests.

Sara H. Byrd