Free Rapid Antigen Tests begin as more facilities open in Bangkok, suburbs

Free Rapid Antigen tests has begun on Monday at three new facilities in Bangkok, jointly operated by the National Health Security Office (NHSO), the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention and the Faculty of Medical Technology of Mahidol University, with the fourth to be opened Wednesday. They will have a combined capacity to test 10,000-12,000 people a day using Rapid Antigen kits.

The other testing facilities have, to date, been operated by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

The three testing facilities opened today are at the Royal Thai Air Force’s Thupatemi Stadium in the Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani, the Rajamangkala Stadium in Bang Kapi district and on the fifth floor of the car parking lot of Building B, inside the government complex in the Chaeng Watthana area.

The first two facilities have set a target to test up to 3,000 people per day each, and the tests will be conducted by officials of the NHSO, while the third, operated by the Faculty of Medical Technology, will initially conduct 500 cases a day, before increasing to 3,000.

The fourth facility, to be located at the soccer field of the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division Headquarters at Kiakkai in Bangkok’s Dusit district, will provide a free testing service on Wednesday, with a set target of 3,000 tests.

In addition, the NHSO plans to expand the testing service at community clinics, to ease congestion at the testing centres.

NHSO Secretary-General Dr. Jadet Thamthat-Aree said today (Monday) that people who test positive for COVID-19, to be confirmed by a RT-PCR test, will be treated in home or community isolation, in the case where their homes are not appropriate or ready for home isolation, adding that such patients will be monitored and kept in contact with health officials on daily basis.

The patients will be provided with a thermometer and an oximeter, to measure their body temperature and oxygen level, as well as the Fah Talai Jone Thai traditional herbal medicine and three meals a day, so those in home isolation do not need to venture out, said Dr. Jadet.

In case the condition of the patient worsens, the community clinics will have them sent to a hospital but, if there are no empty hospital beds available, the patients will remain at home while waiting and will be given anti-viral Favipiravir tablets until they can be admitted.

Noting that 80% of those infected are asymptomatic or mild cases, Dr. Jadet said that the 204 community clinics in Bangkok are each capable of looking after 200 patients, adding that, through these health facilities, the problem of hospital bed shortages will be eased, to enable them to accommodate severe and moderate cases.

Patients who want to return to their homes for treatment can contact the NHSO’s hotline at 1330, so arrangements can be made to have them taken back home, in free transport provided by the NHSO, he added.

Source: Thai PBS World