Thailand turns cargo warehouse into Covid-19 field hospital

BANGKOK: Thai volunteers yesterday turned a cargo warehouse at Bangkok's Don Muang airport into a 1,800-bed field hospital for Covid-19 patients with less severe symptoms, as the country deals with its biggest outbreak to date.

Thailand reported a record of 16,533 cases, plus 133 deaths yesterday, bringing the total to 543,361 cases and 4,397 deaths.

"This is a level 1+ field hospital where it can receive a large number of patients who have less severe symptoms," Mongkutwattana hospital director Rienthong Nanna said.

"But if patients' conditions deteriorate, they will be moved to our other field hospital called Pitak Rachan (Protect the King) Field Hospital," he added.

Dr Rienthong said the field hospital was not up and running yet as more preparations were needed.

On Tuesday, overcrowding at Bangkok's main vaccination centre sparked fears of a coronavirus cluster outbreak, after people from other provinces rushed in to get injected before a walk-in measure is scrapped.

The Bang Sue vaccination centre was packed all day as people took advantage of two public holidays, yesterday and Tuesday, to get their jab.

Many were seen pleading with officials. Others even wandered around asking if they could pose as carers for elderly people in order to be vaccinated.

The centre had earlier announced it would suspend walk-in appointments from today and receive only people who have registered through the mobile network.

Photos of the crowded Bang Sue centre have been circulating on social media earlier this week. - REUTERS, THE NATION/ANN