Drive-through Covid swap test at a Bangkok hospital. (photo by Veena Thoopkrajae)
Bangkok’s hospitals still have enough COVID-19 test supplies, but they have had to suspend testing due to a shortage of hospital beds, according to the Director-General of the Department of Medical Sciences, Dr. Suppakit Sirilak.
Currently, there are 300,000-400,000 test kits in Thailand, while there are 270 hospitals across the country, both private and government, approved by the Department of Medical Sciences to provide COVID-19 tests. Each hospital has their own stock of test supplies, while the department also holds them, in case of shortage.
As for the rumours of a test kit shortage in private hospitals, Dr. Suppakit explained that it may arise from concerns that the hospital beds would fill up. He suggested that those who are not at risk take saliva tests samples instead.
He also assured that Thailand has never experienced a test kit shortage, adding that 3 million test kits were used last year, 1.5 million of which were used during the Samut Sakhon outbreak. There are also a number of test kits jointly produced by the department and Siam Bioscience, he said.