Infections will skyrocket without social distancing, says official

If the public were to ignore pleas to maintain safe social distancing, Thailand could have more than 25,000 people infected with the Covid-19 virus by mid-April, a Health Ministry official has warned.

Anupong Sujariyakul of the Disease Control Department said on Friday (March 27) that social distancing is crucial in reducing contagion.

He’s calculated that, if 80 per cent of residents make sure they strictly limit their contact with others and stay at least a metre away from the next person, 7,745 people would be infected by April 15, up from the current 1,136.

If 50 per cent of people take the recommended precautions, there would be 17,635 infections.

And if most people ignore the advice, there would be 25,225.

“It’s important to understand that a low rate of infection enables medical personnel to control the disease, but if the figure were to rise sharply, they could no longer do that,” Anupong said.

“At least 90 per cent of Thai people should adhere to social distancing so that we have enough hospital beds for the people most at risk of severe infection and death from the virus, such as those over 70 years old, people with congenital diseases, and children, who have low immunity to the virus.”