Mr Somchai is one of a number of hotel owners who have offered to allow the Ministry of Public Health to make use of their facilities in the fight against Covid-19. ‘If Wuhan authorities can build field hospitals with 1,000 beds in 10 days, Korat province can develop field hospitals with several hundred beds in two days,” Somchai Chatpathanasiri, owner of the Punjadara Hotel located in Nakhon Ratchasima province, says proudly.
For instance, two hotels in Phitsanulok province — La Paloma Hotel and Thep Nakorn Hotel — have signed up to have their rooms converted into field hospitals, while a number of other hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, such as the Eastin Hotel in Chiang Mai and The Quarter hostel in Bangkok, have offered their rooms for free to medical workers.
The emergence of this volunteer spirit reflects another side of the crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has made more than half a million people around the world sick and claimed over 20,000 lives, not to mention drastically changing our way of life in the short term. Yet, like every crisis, it has also fostered a spirit of compassion and creativity in many communities.
The fight against Covid-19 requires more than just medical treatment at hospitals. One of the cornerstones of limiting the spread of the virus, or “flattening the curve” as experts have called it, is an effective self-quarantine policy. Some healthcare experts in Western nations have even suggested that patients with mild symptoms should not visit a hospital unless their condition takes a turn for the worse. What may seem to some like a heartless strategy is in fact a crucial tactic to prevent healthcare systems being stretched to the point of collapse. It is intended to help keep the healthcare system from collapse.