Doctors Estimate 7,000 Deaths if Lockdown is Not Imposed

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, right, chairs a meeting with physicians on Covid-19 situations at Government House on March 20, 2020.

BANGKOK — PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was told earlier this week that coronavirus infections in Thailand could surge to as many as 350,000 if a lockdown measure is not implemented, a news site reported Friday.

According to Isra news agency, the projection was shown to Gen. Prayut by a team of physicians who briefed him yesterday on possible responses to the coronavirus epidemic at Government House. The investigative news site said doctors fear at least 7,000 people could die from the virus unless extensive quarantines are in place.

The doctors, who work for the ministry of health and university hospitals, also estimated that more than 52,000 people could up in hospital under this “worst case scenario,” and at least 17,000 of them would be in critical conditions.

Image: Isra

In contrast, confirmed infections could be as low as 24,269 cases in the coming 30 days if a lockdown measure is announced by the government.

But even under the “best case scenario,” 485 people may die from the pandemic, which has infected at least 320 people in Thailand so far.

Isra said Prayut did not immediately agree to shutting down public transports and ordering residents to stay indoors, though the Prime Minister did agree to deliberate on the doctors’ suggestion to order a lockdown.

PM Prayut also said at a news conference on Tuesday that he’s open to a complete lockdown, but consequences must be thoroughly taken into account first.

“If we do lock down the cities, people will not be able to enter or leave. Cars will not be able to pass through. It would look like what Wuhan did. We may not need that level yet,” Prayut said. “But if the situation does reach that point, I’d order a lockdown.”

He added, “But how will we eat and live? We will need measures. Please understand this.”