BANGKOK, July 5  — Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha is undergoing home quarantine for a week after he came into close contact with a businessman who later tested positive for COVID-19. 

Prayuth had come into close contact with the Chairman of Surin Chamber of Commerce,  Veerasak Pisanuwong, who took a selfie with the premier during the Phuket reopening ceremony on July 1.

Veerasak wrote a post on Facebook advising those who came in close contact with him to self-isolate as he had been tested positive for COVID-19. 

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said Prayuth who received two doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine had tested negative this morning.

“The prime minister will carry out his duty as usual,” he said in a statement. 

Over the last 24 hours, Thailand reported 6,166 new COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 289,233 and 2,276 fatalities, to date.

Of the new cases, Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman  Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said 6,154 were local transmission including 2,109 through active case detection and 12 were imported cases.

He said Bangkok, the epicentre of the outbreak reported 1,729 new cases and followed by Samut Prakan (411), Samut Sakhon (389), Pathum Thani (352) and Songkhla (318).

He said the new fatalities involved 34 men and 16 women aged between 28 and 91 years old including 17 in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (nine), Samut Prakan (six) and Chachoengsao (three).

Amid a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, the authorities have stepped up efforts to establish more field  hospitals as well as adding more hospitals beds.

Director of News Division, Department of Information of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Pensom Lertsithichai said more than 90 per cent of hospital beds in Bangkok now occupied.

Therefore, she said the Public Health Ministry is increasing the capacity of field hospital including additional 1,500 hospital beds in Bussarakham Field Hospital in Nonthaburi’s Impact Muang Thong Thani.

 To ease bed shortage at hospitals in Bangkok, she said more than 30 provinces in Thailand will be welcoming COVID-19 patients who work in Bangkok and nearby provinces to return to home provinces to receive treatment under the initiative “No One Left Behind”.

“The CCSA instructed Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) to open 20 isolation centre to accommodate COVID-19 patients who are waiting for hospital beds,” she said.

In Pattani, south of Thailand, health authorities to open 15 new field hospitals at 12 districts to accommodate the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.

As the COVID-19 numbers in Pattani continue to surge, Dr Rusta Salaeh who is in-charge of the field hospital in the province said a field hospital would accommodate about 100 patients.

“These fields hospitals are scheduled to be opened in one to two weeks time,” he told Bernama.


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