Thailand has begun using sleeper trains to transport Covid patients out of Bangkok, where hospitals have been overwhelmed by a recent surge in cases.
The first train left the capital on Tuesday, transporting 137 patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms to their home towns in the north-east of the country.
Thailand is facing its third and most severe wave of Covid since the start of the pandemic, driven by the Delta variant, which has spread widely across the capital. Hospitals have been forced to treat patients in car parking areas, and to turn away patients who are severely ill.
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Photo: A Thai COVID-19 patient (R) arrives to board trains bringing them back to their homeland province, at the Rangsit Train station on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s Transport Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and related agencies facilitate free trains for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, to allow them to return to their homeland provinces. They started operating the first train to seven provinces in northeastern Thailand on 27 July 2021, and will also including the country’s North and South, to lower the risk of the virus being spreaded in Bangkok. EPA-EFE/NARONG SANGNAK