COVID field hospital ‘Bussarakham’ closes after 5 months

An undated file photo of the Bussarakham field hospital.

BANGKOK – The country’s largest and most important field hospital for COVID-19 patients closed earlier this week, as the number of critically ill patients continues to decline in the capital.

The “Bussarakham” hospital opened in May to deal with the growing number of infections and severe cases at the time. But a drop in new admissions in recent weeks, followed by the discharge of the last patient, means the facility no longer needs to be operational, said Kiatiphum Wongrajit, head of the Ministry of Public Health.

In July, up to 200 patients per day were admitted due to outbreaks of the Delta variant, Kiatiphum told reporters, but admissions started to decline in September, when there were only six cases per day.

The last patients were finally discharged on September 20, he said. The hospital has treated around 20,400 people for COVID-19 during its five months of operation.

Speaking at a press conference marking the closure of the hospital, Kiatiphum praised the staff for their dedication. The healthcare workers came from different hospitals and have since returned to their respective workplaces. Equipment and supplies in Bussarakham will also be sent to other needy facilities across the country.

Bussarakham began operations on May 14. It was hosted at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Center in northwest Bangkok.

Originally housing 1,000 beds, the facility then expanded to accommodate 3,700 beds, thanks to contributions from the private and civil sectors, as well as some government funding.

The field hospital had intensive care and semi-intensive care units, and its presence ensured that regular hospital beds could be freed up for critically ill patients.

The government’s coronavirus center on Friday reported 11,754 new cases and 123 deaths linked to the pandemic. There have been 12,473 recoveries in the past 24 hours, the government said.

Up to 115,233 people are still receiving treatment for COVID-19 across the country, according to government reports.

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