The Public Health Ministry will start placing asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in home isolation to free up hospital beds for those in more need.
Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the home isolation idea is being implemented and would use technology so doctors can monitor people’s symptoms remotely.
He said home isolation would target people in the “green group” (those showing no COVID-19 symptoms) in Bangkok. They should be confined to their homes for observation so beds in medical facilities can go to those with worse symptoms in Bangkok and surrounding provinces designated “dark-red” zones.
The plan is being launched as the number of infections has surged in dark-red zone provinces in recent days. The rise is attributed in large part to mass testing in and around at-risk areas where infection clusters have been discovered.
Mr Pitutecha said the treatment of the critically ill was a priority and the authorities were trying to make sure there were enough beds for those infected and that deaths were avoided at all costs.
He explained the home isolation plan had been devised with help from specialised technology. It requires a remote tracking and warning system to be installed as well as the instant reporting of essential information about the sick staying at home, such as their body temperature and blood oxygen level.
The Department of Medical Services (DoMS) has proposed other criteria for home isolation patients.
Director-general Dr Somsak Akksilp said they should be aged below 60 and in relatively strong health. They should stay at home alone or with one family member at most. They also should not be obese or be suffering from underlying conditions.
Also, those seeking home isolation must have permission from doctors.
Throughout the isolation period, the sick must not receive visitors or come into close contact with the elderly or children. If they share a house with someone else, they must stay in a separate bedroom and keep away from shared spaces.
They must also keep their personal effects away from others while regularly cleaning their hands, using hand gel, wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.
The National Health Security Office (NHSO) will pay 1,000 baht a day per head to cover three meals every day to be delivered by the patient’s supervising hospital and another 1,100 baht a day per head for medical equipment.
The sick who exhibit no symptoms will be given fah talai jone extract and those beginning to show symptoms will be prescribed favipiravir.