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Leading Thai doctor in dire warning: Deadly Italian strain of Covid-19 now set to wreak havoc in Thailand

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Leading Thai doctor in dire warning: Deadly Italian strain of Covid-19 now set to wreak havoc in Thailand

 

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A leading physician in the fight against Covid-19 has sounded a dire warning about the spread of the virus in Thailand. 

 

He said that prior to this month Thailand was only affected by a milder strain of the virus. But now the strain that has devastated Italy and overwhelmed medical services there has arrived in Thailand.

 

The virus was introduced to a so called "super spreader" after a relative arrived back from Italy. Suddenly 50 people were infected at a boxing event and these have gone on to cause a rocket in cases in Thailand. 

 

The virus strain has the power to kill far more people than Asian strains, he said, suggesting that eight times as many people might die, many from respiratory disease.

 

Dr Manoon Leechawengwong is the ICU chief and disease expert at Bangkok's Vichaiyut Hospital in Phayathai district. He is a leading expert in respiratory illness.

 

On his personal Facebook page he painted a disturbing picture of the potential future course of the outbreak in Thailand and indicated that measures to contain its spread were not introduced in time. 

 

He said that at first Thailand had 30-40 cases and one death and there was little change for many weeks, reported Thai Rath. Thais who were infected had got a milder strain prevalent in other parts of Asia like Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. 

 

But all that changed after a boxing event at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok on March 6th. 

 

He said that a relative of a person in the boxing fraternity who had been to Italy started the spread of the Italian strain of the virus. 

 

The person in the boxing fraternity was a "super spreader" who infected 50 people at Lumpinee and these have gone on to infect others resulting in a rapid rise and rapid expansion in the location of cases in Thailand. 

 

He said that this strain is much more severe and has a far higher mortality rate because of its ability to cause onset of severe respiratory disease and even heart related problems.

 

He pointed to the fact that in Italy there had been 47,021 cases and 4,032 deaths or 8.6%. By comparison in South Korea 8,799 had been infected with only 102 deaths making the death rate just 1.1%. 

 

He accepted that there are a lot of older and thus more vulnerable people in Italy but he countered that argument by saying that Japan, where the aging population is very similar, have been able to keep deaths to a far lower level than Italy again because the virus strain is different. 

 

He said that the closure of places like boxing - now in force in Bangkok and other areas in Thailand - came too late to save the country from being infected with the virulent strain from Italy. 

 

If closures had been ordered before the beginning of March, it could have been averted. Likewise if all people at the boxing - and there were 5,000 attendees - were quarantined it could have been contained. 

 

It was clear from his comments that too little was done too late and now Thailand is facing the consequences of an explosion in cases of a strain of Covid-19 far more severe than was previously being experienced. 

 

Source: Thai Rath

 

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2020-03-23
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