Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan is an experienced former cabinet minister who was the leading candidate for Prime Minister of the largest Thai political party during the last General Election in 2019. She has served in cabinet under three different prime ministers. This weekend, she called for political unity in Thailand at this time as she presented her party’s blueprint for the country to recover from the currents crisis by the end of 2021.
One of Thailand’s leading politicians, who served as a cabinet minister in previous governments before the 2006 coup, has rolled out a ‘blueprint’ to save the country from the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. It is a three-step plan which calls for change in dealing with how the current outbreak is treated with more testing, more treatment of symptoms and more mRNA vaccines in association with the AstraZeneca jab.
The leader of the Thai Sang Thai Party and former Pheu Thai Party PM nominee, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, has put forward what she calls a blueprint for restoring Thailand to normal by the end of 2021.
The plan was outlined on the same day as Thailand yet again broke the daily record for the level of infections at 15,335 cases and 129 deaths with top Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) official, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, on Saturday saying there was some cause for hope.
CCSA expert says the numbers in Bangkok may be levelling off but are increasing nationwide
He said that there were some indications that numbers in Bangkok were beginning to level off but that this was, for now, being balanced out by rising levels in other provinces.
However, he indicated that deaths may continue to rise as they trail the level of infections detected.
Chinese style total lockdowns being considered
The government is reported to be considering more stringent lockdown measures for Bangkok and red zoned areas including 13 provinces.
It is reported that measures used in China in both the Wuhan and Guangzhou outbreaks are being discussed and examined. Such measures may see draconian lockdown measures introduced to kill off the spread of the disease.
Officials, however, are being cautioned by an anxious business sector who are adamant that such moves be avoided, with the domestic economy already experiencing a cataclysm far beyond that of the 1997 Tom Young King in 1997 and the most serious in modern history, would be highly destructive, right now, for the kingdom’s economy with deeper, long term ramifications.
Khunying Sudarat’s plan presented as a ‘new year’s gift’ to the Thai people aiming for normality in 2022
Introducing her plan on Sunday, themed a ‘blueprint’ to defeat COVID by the end of this year, Khunying Sudarat represented it as a ‘new year’s gift’ to the Thai people and said it would restore normality and happiness particularly in Bangkok and the areas most severely impacted by the current wave.
She said that the first step to achieving this would be ‘epidemic control’ and highlighted the need for greater, wider and more convenient testing capacity and support for those who contract the virus or who feel threatened by it.
More testing and make it available to all
‘Every Thai person who wants to be tested for infection must be tested. Patients need treatment and must receive quality vaccines There must be no people dying at home or die in the middle of the road anymore,’ she said.
The former cabinet minister, who served under three previous Thai prime ministers including Thaksin Shinawatra, said more antigens testing was needed in Bangkok and the red zones currently designated.
She called for a maintenance system to be set up to deal with all infected people and a range of different approaches in a three-tiered model to be deployed.
Three-tiered approach to infected people including more of an emphasis on treatment of virus symptoms
This would include people who were asymptomatic being given guidance and support on how to treat themselves and isolate at home including medication while others, where necessary, could be accommodated at community shelters, schools and auditoriums depending on their living circumstances and the danger of infecting others.
The second tier would be for those who display mild symptoms.
She proposed that these be given ‘green’ beds at field hospitals and administered with treatments including the drug Favipiravir. This tactic proved quite successful in India’s recent outbreak.
Only seriously ill people would be admitted to hospitals to reduce pressure on the system
‘We have to aim for people who are sick to go home from the green bed,’ she explained.
Only those with serious illness or symptoms would be treated within hospitals and ICU facilities where necessary.
The aim would be to reduce pressure on the public health system while also offering treatment to all those showing symptoms to tackle the progress of the disease.
mRNA vaccines in association with AstraZeneca to be used, calls for an end to the government monopoly and control of vaccine importation into the kingdom
Khunying Sudarat outlined the third stage of her plan which would involve procuring mRNA vaccines which she suggested should be combined with the AstraZeneca vaccine to make up Thailand’s vaccine arsenal.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in recent days, found that two doses of either the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine or the Pfizer mRNA vaccine were just as efficacious against the Delta variant of COVID-19 as they had been against the British Alpha variant.
The party leader said that Thailand must administer 500,000 doses a day to make sure that at least 70% of the population are vaccinated by the end of the year.
State regulatory process linked with Thailand’s vaccination programme’s chronic delays admits top official
Khunying Sudarat called for a change of law and public health regulations to abolish the effective monopoly currently given to government agencies associated with the importation and purchase of COVID-19 vaccines so that more organisations can help distribute higher quality vaccines to the public.
Thailand now has over 17% who have received one dose of a vaccine with 300,000 doses a day targeted
On Saturday, Dr Taweesilp told the media that the government was hopeful of averaging out at a rate of 300,000 a day shortly.
Figures to the 23rd July 2021 show that Thailand has now administered at least one dose to 17.4% of the population while just over 5% are fully vaccinated.
The Thai Sang Thai (Thai Build Thai) plan calls for at least one dose to be administered to 50 million people by the end of December with the administration of final doses for 70% of people to be accomplished by the end of January 2022.
Critics of the government point out that the majority of doses so far are from the Chinese Sinovac vaccine but Thai health officials have countered by pointing out that the vaccine is still quite effective at reducing both infections and deaths, even against the Delta variant.
Genuine call for political unity during this crisis
The party leader and veteran politician, who has consistently been rated by Thais as a popular choice for Prime Minister behind General Prayut, also stressed that an essential part of her plan was a genuine call for political unity at this time between all parties so that the kingdom can come out of this crisis together.
She suggested a key consideration of the government must be the economy and keeping Thailand not only open to foreign tourism but to ordinary Thais seeking to go about their business and work.
She said she hoped to see a positive response from the government to her initiative and all parties in the interests of the Thai people.