In Phuket, a new strategy has been proposed to contain the new surge in COVID-19 infections which is now at a “crisis level”.
Chalermpong Sukontapol, director of the Vachira Phuket Hospital, has proposed a “Quick Win strategy” to deal with a spike in new daily cases caused by the fast-spreading Delta variant.
“The new cases are increasing in Phuket. Even though many residents have received two shots of the Sinovac vaccine, this is still not enough to prevent infections. There are still numerous green-coded patients with mild symptoms,” he said.
“If they receive booster shots, this would help contain the Delta variant and the Phuket Sandbox scheme can go ahead,” Dr Sukontapol said.
The “Quick Win” strategy is aimed at curbing the number of patients with severe symptoms, boosting herd immunity, and easing the burdens of the public health system, he said.
Under the strategy, measures must be in place to stop people’s movement and reduce unnecessary activities; and focus on testing the groups most vulnerable to infection — senior citizens, people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women.
It must also isolate green-coded patients in-home and community isolation, put yellow-coded patients with no severe symptoms in field hospitals, and treat red-coded patients with severe conditions in hospitals.
The strategy also calls for ramping up efforts to administer booster shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of this month, Dr Sukontapol said.
Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said on Wednesday the surge in new infections on the island is at a crisis level and needs attention.
“That the number of infections is more than 200 a day is a crisis situation. We need to manage the situation better,” the governor said.
Mr Woonciew said the booster vaccine shots will be crucial to easing the situation and resuscitating the local economy.
The island province on Wednesday reported 258 new cases, one of them a tourist under the sandbox programme.
It was the highest rate of daily infections in the last week.
Three of the last four days have seen the number rising above 200.
Provincial public health chief Kusak Kukiatkul that 85% of Phuket’s local residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19.