Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health plans to engage private hotels financially hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic in a scheme to provide isolation space for people at risk of infection.

Local media on April 3 quoted Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutecha as saying that the ministry is in the process of drafting criteria for hotels to provide space to people required to undergo quarantine, such as returnees from COVID-19-affected areas or patients discharged from hospital who need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Somsak Akkslip, Chief of Medical Services, said that these so-called “hospitels” are designed to reduce the number of patients at regular hospitals during the outbreak. A medical team stationed at hotels would be in charge of up to 100 patients.

CCTV systems and telecommunication lines will be set up to allow for remote contact between patients and medical staff in the hotel. A thermometer and oxygen equipment will also be set up in each room so that the medical team can monitor updated reports, he added.

The concept is designed to cater to patients exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms that require they stay at a hospital for at least a week. After this period, they must be able to take care of themselves and agree to stay at a hospitel. Patients must remain there for at least 14 days after the date of their discharge from hospital.

Tares Krassanairawiwong, Head of the Department of Health Service Support, explained that for a hotel to join the scheme, it must have over 30 rooms, a hotel license, a safe building structure, no carpets, isolated air conditioners, a waste management system, and a friendly community.

There are 85 hotels with 10,700 rooms that meet these criteria in Bangkok, leading to a total of 16,000 rooms nationwide.

Thailand reported 103 new cases on April 3, raising its total to 1,978, with four more fatalities taking its death toll to 19.

Four new infections in Cambodia have brought the country’s total cases to 114, of which 35 have fully recovered. The World Bank has approved a 20 million USD credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for Cambodia’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Project./.