Thailand Set to Run Out of ICU Beds in 19 Days as COVID-19 Cases Reach Record Highs

Thailand is on track to reach full ICU bed capacity in the next 19 days as coronavirus cases and hospitalization reach record highs, the country's health authorities warned Friday.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said Friday that the nation confirmed a daily record with 2,070 new COVID-19 cases. A day earlier, the country reported its highest-ever death count, with seven people succumbing to the virus, the Associated Press reported.

Visanuyothin warned that the latest outbreak is putting a severe strain on the country's hospital system and ICU capacity.

In Bangkok, which has the highest number of reported cases, there are only 69 empty ICU beds left out of approximately 400. At the current rate of demand, that equates to only enough beds for the next six to eight days.

At the beginning of March, Thailand had 26,031 cases with double-digit daily increases, but a new outbreak sent the numbers skyrocketing. Now, the new daily record brings the country's total case count to 50,183, with 121 recorded deaths.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Thailand COVID-19
Health workers prepare to administer people with the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac inside a sports stadium on April 22, 2021, in Phuket, Thailand. Sirachai Arunrugstichai/Getty Images

Under Thai law, infected patients must be held in hospital facilities, but even with the addition of field hospitals there are not enough beds. There are 19,873 people in hospitals and field facilities nationwide, but in some areas that are short of beds, infected people are isolating at home.

But Thailand isn't the only Asia-Pacific region that's struggling to contain the virus.

India is now putting oxygen tankers on special express trains as major hospitals in New Delhi begged on social media for more supplies to save COVID-19 patients who are struggling to breathe. More than a dozen people died when an oxygen-fed fire ripped through a coronavirus ward in a populous western state.

India's underfunded health system is tattering as the world's worst coronavirus surge wears out the nation, which set another global record in daily infections for the second straight day with 332,730. The situation was worsening by the day with hospitals taking to social media pleading with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatening to stop fresh admissions of patients. The government has started running Oxygen Express trains with tankers.

And in Japan, the country announced a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western urban prefectures amid skepticism it will be enough to curb a rapid coronavirus resurgence ahead of the Olympics in July. The emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and its two western neighbors, Kyoto and Hyogo, will last from April 25 through mid-May.

It is largely intended as a short, intensive step to stop people from traveling and spreading the virus during Japan's "Golden Week" holidays. But experts and local leaders have said tougher measures are needed in the face of the rapidly spreading virus, limited vaccinations and public fatigue.

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