A woman and two children, all wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, leave a supermarket in Hadyai district in Thailand’s southern province of Songkla on March 22, 2020. (Photo by Madaree TOHLALA / AFP)
Thailand has now reached a critical point which could see the country go either the way of several European countries that are being ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak or that of countries like Japan and South Korea which have managed to contain the spread of the deadly virus, a senior public health official said this morning.
“The future is now in the hands of the Thai people,”said Dr. Suppakij Sirilak, the deputy secretary general of the Public Health Ministry said.
Speaking at a daily press briefing, Suppakij said Thailand has seen an exponential jump in the number of infection cases in the past one week which is a clear indication that things are going to get worse.
“We started with a few cases of infections. Then we had dozens of cases. And now we are talking about hundreds,” he said.
Suppakij painted the grim picture as the ministry today reported 122 new infection cases, raising the total number of infected patients to 721.
Using the mathematical model, he said there is a strong possibility that Thailand could follow the footsteps of countries like Italy and the US which now each have tens of thousands of infection cases and mounting death tolls.
“And that is something unavoidable if we do not follow directives from the authorities to stay home and practice serious social distancing,” he said.
He said Japan, Taiwan and South Korea should serve as a good example as they have been able to effectively contain the spread of the virus.
“This is what medical experts call the golden period. We now have a choice to go either the way of some of the European countries of that of Japan and South Korea,” he said.
Suppakij said a continuous surge in number of coronavirus patients will eventually put a strain on the public health care system.
“I can’t imagine how our health care system can handle that kind of situation,” he said.
He called on the Thai people to take the stay-at-home directive seriously and to avoid mass gatherings outside.
“We have this stay-at-home directive. And yet we still see crowds of people hanging out and drinking together,” he said.
(Source: Thai PBS)