Thailand has started using sleeper trains to transport COVID-19 patients out of Bangkok, as the city’s healthcare infrastructure is overwhelmed by the ongoing surge caused by the Delta variant.
Hospitals in Bangkok are getting more and more overwhelmed with the spiking number of cases, and this step was taken to ease the pressure on the Thai capital.
Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand recorded 527,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,264 deaths.
The first train cart left Bangkok on Tuesday, and it was transporting 137 asymptomatic or mildly ill patients.
The carts, however, will not only be transporting patients; they will also be used as COVID isolation centers as of July 30.
The city plans on converting 15 disused railway carriages into 240-bed wards, and the Thai Minister of Public Health said, “The process is all secured because they will be closely monitored by doctors and staff and won’t stop anywhere. There will be an emergency team and ambulance standby at the destination.”
“Buses, vans, and planes may also be used to move people across the country,” the Minister added.
All this is happening while the country is facing a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. In the meantime, the government has promised administering booster COVID-19 vaccine doses.