Military hospitals told to brace for big number of patients

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Military hospitals and field hospitals run by the military have been told to prepare to take in Covid-19 patients as the number of infections in Thailand continue to rise.

Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said yesterday Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the armed forces to open up their hospitals to help stave off a shortage of beds for coronavirus patients. As such, Lt Gen Kongcheep said, all military-run hospitals will admit Covid-19 patients if state-run healthcare facilities run out of beds.

Military personnel are also assisting public health authorities organise health checks for Thai expats who had recently arrived from abroad — including migrant workers returning from Indonesia and Malaysia — at airports, seaports and land border checkpoints across the country, he said.

In an effort to curb local transmission, soldiers have been ordered to take part in a routine cleaning campaign to reduce the risk of contracting the virus at public areas across the country. Military personnel are also producing washable, fabric face masks, which are distributed to communities where masks are in short supply. Also, the army has allowed pregnant officers to work from home, while those who have left their barracks must keep a record of places they visited and who they interacted with.

Army chief Apirat Kongsompong yesterday also assured that army-run field hospitals are ready to support the government’s efforts to combat Covid-19. He ordered the directors of army hospitals across the country to prepare for an influx of Covid-19 patients, urging them to inform the army at once, if they are short of the necessary medical equipment and supplies. 

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