Thai hospital resorts to storing bodies in containers as COVID-19 cases soar


As the number of COVID-19 cases soars in Thailand, one hospital morgue has been forced to store bodies that have yet to be autopsied in containers.

A director at the Thammasat University Hospital near Bangkok told Reuters the hospital has had to resort to tactics not seen since the 2004 tsunami that struck the area.

The hospital’s morgue generally performs a maximum of seven autopsies each day, but it has seen more than 10 bodies daily, overwhelming its 10-freezer capacity.

“There’s not enough space, so we bought two containers for bodies’ storage,” director Pharuhat Tor-udom told Reuters.

“During the tsunami, we used containers to store bodies waiting to be autopsied for identification. But we haven’t had to do that (again) until now,” Tor-udom said.

According to the hospital official, among bodies with an unidentifiable cause of death, 20 percent of them later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The grim development follows a worrying surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Thailand as the country continues to post new record-highs.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Thailand had 17,345 confirmed cases on Friday and the country saw its largest number of cases yet on Thursday with 17,669 cases.

Overall, the country has posted over 10,000 new cases for most of the second half of July while maintaining a meager vaccination rate of 5 percent, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Other cities and countries in Asia are also grappling with a worrying surge of new COVID-19 cases, including Malaysia and the Olympic’s host city Tokyo.

On Friday, Tokyo recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 cases — an all-time high for the city. On Friday, four more areas were added to Japan’s state of emergency following an increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to data from WHO, Malaysia confirmed 17,170 new cases on Friday and and 17,405 new cases the day prior. The country has been reporting well over 14,000 new cases in recent days. 

Tags COVID-19 Japan Malaysia Olympics Thailand Tokyo
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