Thai PM orders authorities to prepare Covid-19 field hospitals after UK variant spreads to country

7 Apr, 2021 15:32 Get short URLMedical staff in personal protective clothes register migrant workers and their families at a field hospital for COVID-19 patents in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. ©  AP Photo / Gemunu AmarasingheFollow RT on

The Thai prime minister has ordered officials to prepare Covid-19 field hospitals in Bangkok after the UK strain was detected in the country, and dozens of lawmakers had to self-isolate after being exposed to the virus.

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha made the declaration on Wednesday as the state escalated its efforts to try to contain the fast-spreading UK variant, known as the B.1.1.7 strain, following its first recorded domestic transmission of the mutation.

Bangkok will prepare field hospitals to ensure that the Thai healthcare service is not overwhelmed if cases continue to spike due to the spread of the new strain. Prayuth was clear that these sites would only be used if “the pandemic worsens.”

Heath official and virologist Yong Poovorawan said the government “did everything to block” the strain from entering the country, but “it still gets through.”

This variant is very viral and can spread 1.7 times faster than the usual strain.

The announcement of the new moves comes after 10 government ministers and dozens of lawmakers were forced to self-isolate after they were exposed to people who tested positive for the virus.

Thailand has seen Covid-19 infections continue to rise since the end of 2020, with health officials reporting nearly 30,000 confirmed cases to date in the pandemic and 95 deaths linked to the disease.

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The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the south-east England late last year, has now spread to over 100 countries and is blamed for a spike in infections which has driven a third wave of the virus in many states.

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