Government Asks Chadchart To Limit Bangkok’s Public Activities

The Public Health Ministry said it would ask the newly elected Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt to reduce the number of public activities to prevent Covid-19 cases from resurging.

On Sunday, permanent secretary for public health affairs, Kiattiphum Wongrajit, said he would call on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to limit events that draw large crowds, as recent figures show hospitals must prepare to face a new Covid-19 wave.

Dr. Kiattiphum stated that around 2,000 people are treated in hospitals daily, with over 50% in Bangkok alone. Also, 42% of patients are severely ill or have developed life-threatening symptoms.

As he chairs the communicable disease committee in Bangkok, Governor Chadchart has the authority to issue any necessary health measures, he added.

However, health officials did not specify which events could spread Covid-19.

Experts say the move could be seen as politicking, as it reflects the current government’s inability to tackle the pandemic and its weak position after former heavyweight Pheu Thau won the election to lead the capital in a landslide.

Mr. Chadchart has launched various programs to restore life in the capital since he was elected governor. Some are concerts in public parks and open-air movies.

The Public Health Ministry’s announcement also reflects communicable disease specialists’ growing concerns about the more contagious subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Thailand has logged low fatality figures, with only 18 deaths reported on Saturday. However, the number of severely ill patients has increased from 677 to 785 from July 4 to Saturday.

Also, the latest official figures showed the number of patients dependent on ventilators rose from 299 to 352 over the same period.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged residents to monitor their health after returning from family visits and vacations during the five-day holiday, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.

The spokesman added that people who come back from their trips and develop Covid-19-related symptoms should undergo an antigen test before returning to their workspaces and isolate themselves at home if they test positive.