Workers disinfect Hua Hin Railway Station on April 1, 2020.
Workers disinfect Hua Hin Railway Station on April 1, 2020.

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN — Local administrative officials in Prachuap Khiri Khan on Wednesday agreed to forego their salaries and donate them to support the ongoing effort to fight the coronavirus epidemic in the province.

Songkiat Limarunrak, chief of Prachuap Khiri Khan provincial administration organization, said he and all members of his administration will give up their full April salaries to buy personal protective equipment for volunteer rescue workers across the province, where two people died of the coronavirus so far.

“We did not receive support from the government,” Songkiat said. “Therefore, in order to keep the volunteers safe, myself and all members of the administration agreed to donate our April salaries worth 720,000 baht to buy PPE gears for them. The volunteers are on duty 24 hours a day and they are dedicated to society.”

Songkiat said he initiated the program after learning that a team of volunteer rescue workers were tending to a patient, who was later found to have COVID-19, without proper protection.

“We have learned a lesson after a volunteer removed the body of a man who died on a train without personal protective equipment,” he said. “The passenger was later found to be infected, so our volunteers who are working in the frontline are the most vulnerable.”

He was referring to an incident on March 30 in which a 57-year-old passenger collapsed and died on a southbound train in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Thap Sakae district. Railway officials said the man developed symptoms during the journey and insisted on continuing his journey after being advised to take a rest at Hua Hin Station.

Fourteen volunteers were placed on quarantine after the incident, though none of them became infected. Passengers who shared the same carriage with the man, as well as train and station staff were also quarantined.

The province reported 17 cases of infection and two deaths as of Thursday. Ten patients have recovered, provincial health officials said.

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