Ministers wave off ‘Covid train’ to Northeast as cases pile up in Bangkok
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Tuesday oversaw an operation in Bangkok to send 135 Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms to their home provinces in the Northeast by train.
Trains, buses and even planes are being deployed to ferry mild cases out of Bangkok, where health facilities are being overwhelmed by more than 2,000 new infections per day.
Tuesday’s Covid-19 train ferried patients to Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Amnat Charoen, Yasothon and Nakhon Ratchasima. Each passenger car contained 35 Covid-19 patients and medical staff.
Guidelines on waste management and air ventilation were enforced, and an ambulance was waiting at each destination to take patients for treatment under the public health system.
Saksayam said the operation to transport mild Covid-19 cases back to their home provinces on vans, buses and Royal Thai Airforce planes will continue until the situation is resolved.
Anutin said beds were still available to treat Covid patients in other provinces, adding that sending patients back to their hometowns would reduce congestion at medical facilities in Bangkok.He also played down rumours that Bang Sue Grand Station's Central Vaccination Centre would close, saying a decision will be made by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Tuesday afternoon.
Asked about medics who went to the US Embassy this morning to demand it oversees the distribution of 1.5 million Pfizer shots donated by the US government, Anutin said everyone was free to express their opinions under the law.
He said the Department of Disease Control is responsible for the distribution, adding that they cannot reveal the list of medics who will receive Pfizer shots because this would be against the law.