The Corona pandemic is ravaging Thailand

Volunteer Norwegians have started to hand out meals to needy people in Pattaya – Foto: Terje Salvesen

The skyrocketing infection numbers in Thailand are forcing its authorities to convert trains into makeshift hospital beds in order to alleviate the already maxed out hospitals. Norwegian volunteers are reporting growing queues at the emergency food handout for the unemployed, NRK writes.

Last Saturday Thailand reached its peak in new infections with 18.912 new cases in one day. In total 597.287 people have been infected with the virus in the country, Reuters reports.

Five weeks ago, the Norwegian manager of the “Taste of Norway” restaurant, Hans Johan Grumheten, started to hand out food to the needy of Pattaya together with his wife Chatmontree.

Many nights they have met people who have become homeless after losing their job because of Corona, Grumheten tells.

Apart from the essential grocery stores, pharmacies and vaccination centers everything else have been shut down and that has caused thousands to lose their jobs, according to Bangkok Post.

Grumheten and Chatmontree is meeting these people daily. When they started distributing food on June 24 there where 30 people in line receiving foods and drinks. Five weeks later that number had three doubled. The couple have distributed almost 5000 meals. Now many are giving them economic assistance so they can continue their work.

Trains as hospitals.

Thai authorities are currently preparing a field hospital in the international airport Don Mueang in Bangkok.

Trains are also being transformed to hold Corona patients. In Bangkok 15 old train carriages will work as isolation units with space for 240 people.

Nursing home lockdown.

Roar Sandberg runs a nursing home in Thailand close to the Laos border. To protect the residents and themselves the personnel have choose too self-isolate.

“I’ve never expected it to be like this. It is bad. I don’t have words for have bad it is right now. People are scared. The city is deserted and it’s a very weird situation. You become desperate. I think the authorities in Thailand where not prepared for this happening. Many of the residents here are still waiting for their first shot” Roar says.

Government critique.

The Thai prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has received fierce criticism for his government’s handling of the Corona crisis due to bad vaccine roll-outs and a lack of economic compensation for the affected industries, AFP reports.

According to Roar Sandberg, Norway every year sends a container filled with wheelchairs and walkers for the disabled in Thailand. Because of the Corona virus the shipment is now put on a hold.

About Lasse Sandholdt

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Lasse Sandholdt

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