BANGKOK — The country’s largest and most prominent field hospital for COVID-19 patients closed its door earlier this week, while the number of seriously ill patients continues to fall in the capital.
The “Bussarakham” hospital first opened in May to cope with the rising number of infections and serious cases at the time. But a drop in new admissions in recent weeks, followed by the last patient being discharged, means the facility is no longer needed to be operational, said public health ministry official Kiatiphum Wongrajit.
In July, as many as 200 patients a day were admitted due to the outbreaks of the Delta variant, Kiatiphum told reporters, but admissions started to decline in September, when there were as few as six cases per day.
The last patients were eventually discharged on Sept. 20, he said. The hospital has treated around 20,400 people for COVID-19 throughout its five months of operation.
Speaking at a news conference that marks the hospital’s closure, Kiatiphum praised the staff for their dedication. The healthcare workers were pooled in from different hospitals, and they have since returned to their respective workplace. Equipment and supplies at Bussarakham will also be sent to other facilities in need around the country.
Bussarakham first began its operation on May 14. It was housed at the Impact exhibition and convention centre northwest of Bangkok.
Originally housing 1,000 beds, the facility later expanded to hold 3,700 beds, thanks to contributions from the private and civil sectors, as well as some government funding.
The field hospital boasted intensive care and semi-intensive care units and its presence ensured beds at regular hospitals could be kept free for critically ill patients.
On Friday, the government’s coronavirus center reported 11,754 new cases and 123 fatalities linked to the pandemic. There have been 12,473 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the government said.
Up to 115,233 people are still receiving treatment for COVID-19 nationwide, government reports say.