Senior citizens, pregnant women, young children and people with underlying health conditions who have contracted COVID-19 should be admitted to hospital without the need to be registered via the National Health Security Office (NHSO), said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek yesterday said Gen Chan-o-cha has instructed all related agencies to adjust the country’s patient isolation system to reduce the rate of fatalities among people considered part of the “high-risk 608 group”.
Yesterday, there were a record 92 deaths due to the Omicron variant outbreak, with 93% of those fatal cases being members of the high-risk group.
The youngest case was an 11-month-old infant.
Dr Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services (DMS), said people of this group who contract the virus can be admitted to any hospital for treatment under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (Ucep) Plus scheme.
They will be considered yellow-coded patients as they are at greater risk of severe illness and death, Dr Akksilp said.
Public Health inspectors must ensure beds for yellow-coded patients are sufficient in each hospital, he said.
Dr Akksilp said the department will focus on having a good number of beds for moderate-to-severe COVID-19 infection cases. If 80% of these beds are occupied by patients, more beds will then be procured.
The department must set criteria as a sudden increase of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients might affect patients suffering from other illnesses who also require a bed, he said.
Dr Akksilp said those with mild symptoms should choose home treatment under the campaign of Outpatient with Self Isolation to help ensure there are sufficient beds for those with severe symptoms.
Regarding new medicine prescription guidelines, Dr Akksilp said remdesivir, molnupiravir and paxlovid will be reserved for severe COVID-19 cases, while favipiravir is to be prescribed to patients with mild symptoms.
So far, 50,000 courses of molnupiravir have been distributed to each hospital, while another 50,000 courses of paxlovid will be supplied ahead of the Songkran celebration period, he said.
“However, vaccination is still required as it will help reduce the fatality rate,” Dr Akksilp said.