Provinces across the country are now putting up more field hospitals to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases. These field facilities are intended to accommodate patients with mild symptoms, while freeing up beds at general hospitals for those in more critical condition. Chai Nat Province, for example, is preparing to open its second field hospital for recovered COVID-19 patients. The 140-bed field hospital will accommodate patients whose symptoms show improvement after staying for 10 days at the province’s first field hospital. (15/07/2021)

The Prime Minister’s public relations team has debunked claims he reversed an order for vaccinations to be administered using a mixed approach, following media outlets reporting he had reconsidered the decision based on World Health Organization (WHO) advice. The Prime Minister’s Office Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri has asserted that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha did not issue a policy to stop “mixed-formula” COVID-19 vaccinations and only asked that the public defer to the National Communicable Disease Committee’s decision. (15/07/2021)

Samui Plus, the program for vaccinated tourists, will start from 15 July, after the Phuket Sandbox opens on 1 July 2021. The program includes Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. The estimated number of tourists expected to arrive in the first month is at 1,000 and may generate at least 100 million baht for the local economy. For more information about Samui Plus, please visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website at www.tatnews.org/2021/07/samui-plus-faqs. (14/07/2021)

The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) has signed an agreement with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) and PTT Public Company Limited to jointly conduct studies on synthesizing the precursor of Favipiravir, an antiviral drug used in treating COVID-19 cases, for commercial production and maintaining the country’s medicine security. The cooperation has made significant progress, with these agencies being able to synthesize the precursor of Favipiravir while complying with standards. This is one of the cooperative models between the Government and the private sector to enhance the country’s pharmaceutical industry. The GPO expects that this antiviral drug, which has undergone extensive research and development, will be registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month. Once Thailand is able to produce Favipiravir at a much lower cost, its supply will be sufficient for COVID-19 patients. (14/07/2021)

The Ministry of Labor is now launching free meal deliveries to workers at construction camps in Bangkok and neighboring provinces while they are in a 30-day lock-down because of COVID-19 containment measures. The campaign is aimed at helping affected workers while also ensuring that local restaurants gain revenue. The Ministry of Labor is cooperating with restaurants and hawkers, through the Thai Restaurant Association, to produce boxed meals and deliver them to affected camps from 12 to 27 July, budgeted by the Ministry. A total of 1,317 camps are currently locked down. There are 520 camps located in Bangkok and 797 located in the five neighboring provinces. (14/07/2021)

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, via video conference yesterday, approved measures to help people affected by the COVID-19 situation. Workers and entrepreneurs in areas of maximum and strict COVID-19 controls in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla covered by Section 33 of the Social Security Act will each receive 2,500 baht, while freelance workers covered by sections 39 and 40 will each receive 5,000 baht. (14/07/2021)

The Operations Center for Remedying the Emergency Situation of Security, an internal organization within the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), has deployed a team of 21 military personnel to assist in the operation and help maintain orderliness at the Central Vaccination Center located at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok. (14/07/2021)

The Department of Disease Control has warned that there might be some damaging health effects from the chemicals that were released in the explosion last week, on 6 July, and may cause chemical incidents in surrounding communities. The public should also should have knowledge about their home chemicals, such as how to use, store, and control them. Moreover, they should prepare a back up plan for emergency cases. Officials and related agencies should develop knowledge management for public emergencies. (14/07/2021)

The National Communicable Disease Committee has approved four measures to tackle the new outbreak of COVID-19 in Thailand on 12 July 2021. The measures are the following: (1) Use the mixed vaccination, Sinovac for the first dose and AstraZeneca as the second dose, with a distance of 3-4 weeks, to increase immunity to the Delta variant; (2) Give a booster dose to the frontline medical personnel. This dose should have a distance from the second dose of around 3-4 weeks onward. AstraZeneca is the primary vaccine for the booster dose; (3) Use a COVID-19 antigen test (the "rapid" test) to increase the chance to test for the virus and reduce the waiting time for queuing. The testing kit should be verified by the Food and Drug Administration, and at present it can be used only by accredited medical centers. The kit will be allowed to be used at home in the next phase; and (4) Apply home isolation and community isolation for COVID-19 patients with mild conditions. The Government will send a thermometer, fingertip pulse oximeter, medicines, and food to patients. (13/07/2021)

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob informed the public that unused areas of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports will be utilized for setting up field hospitals. The arrangement of another 7,000 beds was being made because of the current COVID-19 situation causing a large number of patients to wait for treatment. He added that the Government has finalized an arrangement with Airports of Thailand (AOT), which offered the areas of the airports that were currently not in operation to allow the field hospitals on a temporary lease. According to Mr. Saksayam, the Suvarnabhumi Airport field hospital will open for service around August and will be able to accommodate more than three times the number of patients at Bussarakham Hospital at Impact Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province, while Don Mueang Airport is in the process of preparing a warehouse for the setting up of a field hospital, which will contain approximately 2,000 beds for patients with mild symptoms. (13/07/2021)

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