Daily meetings of the Ministry of Public Health continue to monitor the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) situation, while the Department of Health Service Support (HSS) has urged private hospitals and clinics to follow common practices in coping with the MERS case.

The ministry’s MERS surveillance daily meeting continues to assess the risk factor of the disease today, based on the epidemic information within Thailand and abroad. The meeting has established a team of academics to suggest relevant options and new measures to deal with future cases.

In the meeting on June 22, the Bureau of Public Health Emergency Response has reported that 47 special patient rooms are now available at hospitals in Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan province. The bureau has also ordered Nakhon Phatom, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakhon, and Chachoengsao provinces to provide additional patient rooms and to establish an isolation criteria for inspection procedures, plan escape preventing measures, and assess the risks of current communication and management performances.

Meanwhile, the HSS has invited delegates from private clinics and hospitals in the Greater Bangkok Area for a meeting to determine the guidelines and practices which should be enacted to cope with the MERS case.

The HSS stated that hospitals should enforce strict screenings of patients, especially for persons traveling from country where the MERS disease has been confirmed. Hospitals equipped with low pressure isolation rooms should assume the role to treat these suspected MERS patents.

Hospitals are not allowed to decline the admittance of patients. Hospitals without adequate facilities are required to contact the ministry for patient referring to contain the spread of the virus. The decision to refer a patient should be a shared responsibility between the patient and the related authorities.

Following the discovery of the first case of the deadly MERS virus in Thailand, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is tightening measures to curb the possible spread of the disease.

All hospitals and clinics in the capital have been warned to screen patients who exhibit respiratory symptoms similar to those of MERS and the people who arrive in Bangkok from at-risk areas. Quarantine rooms have been prepared for possible arrivals of MERS patients.

Suvarnabhumi Airport will also screen and quarantine passengers returning from MERS-hit countries. Over 1,000 Thai Muslims are currently making a pilgrimage to Hajj in Saudi Arabia, one of the countries with records of MERS outbreaks. Pamphlets and extra information are being given to pilgrims making the journey.

Additional measures which include monitoring Thai workers and students as well as foreign visitors who traveled from countries with MERS have been put in place.

The Ministry of Public Health has just reported that the country’s first MERS patient is now recovering from the disease. Three relatives of the patient are being put under quarantine in a bid to prevent any outbreak.-VNA