Thailand repatriates people with COVID-19 by train

Thai authorities have started bringing people with COVID-19 from Bangkok back to their homeland for isolation and treatment.

Medical staff check the oxygen levels of a person with COVID-19 at a train station in Pathum Thani province (Thailand) on July 27. Photo: AP
Medical staff check the oxygen levels of a person with COVID-19 at a train station in Pathum Thani province (Thailand) on July 27. Photo: AP

The AP news agency (USA) said this move was implemented from July 27 to reduce the burden on the medical system in Bangkok. Health officials in Bangkok on July 26 announced that intensive care beds for people with COVID-19 at public hospitals were all full. They also confirmed that they had requested military medical assistance at civilian hospitals.

A train carrying more than 100 people with COVID-19 and medical staff has left the capital Bangkok towards the northeast. This train will stop in 7 provinces where COVID-19 patients are taken to hospitals by local medical staff for treatment.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said: "These are patients in Bangkok who have not been treated at the hospital. We want them to be treated at home. Movement is controlled. We will continue this program until Bangkok has no more COVID-19 patients with no beds to treat.”

Anutin Charnvirakul also emphasized that buses, minivans and even fighter jets can also be mobilized to bring COVID-19 patients from Bangkok back to less affected provinces.

The campaign to bring people with COVID-19 in Bangkok home for treatment has been launched since July 27. Photo: AP
The campaign to bring people with COVID-19 in Bangkok home for treatment has been launched since July 27. Photo: AP

Most of the 4,451 hospital beds for people with COVID-19 in Bangkok are full. Hospitals have encouraged people with COVID-19 to self-isolate at home or at a community isolation center.

Bangkok Mayor Aswin Kwanmuang said that the capital city government will coordinate with the national railway agency to install 240 hospital beds in 15 trains under maintenance at Bang Sue station. These carriages will serve as “pre-hospital centers” for asymptomatic people with COVID-19. On July 27, Mr. Aswin Kwanmuang inspected these carriages and assessed that they will come into operation from July 30.

The Thai government claims to have ensured the supply of medical oxygen and asks the manufacturer to make sure that it is sufficient. Meanwhile, the government also added that some temples have offered free cremation as the death toll from COVID-19 rises.

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