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Residents threaten to torch conference hall if used as field hospital

Frightened local residents have threatened to burn down a conference hall in Muang district if it is converted into a field hospital for Covid-19 patients.

They are worried that infected outsiders will be treated at the hospital and will spread the virus in their community.

Cloth banners carrying messages opposing the setting up of the field hospital were hung in front of the Thung Thalad conference hall on Wednesday.

One banner proclaimed, “If the municipality sets it up (a field hospital), Na Khian residents will set fire to it’’.

Rosed Wattanat, head of Village Moo 2 in tambon Na Khian, said the people were gripped with fear that Covid-19 would spread through their community if infected patients from other areas were brought there for treatment.

They opposed any plan to set up a field hospital in their area, he said. 

However, they were willing to allow a building at Ban Khlong Din School in their community to be used as a quarantine facility, or field hospital, for local people who may be infected. 

The conference hall is under the supervision of Muang municipality.

A source said provincial authorities had ordered the municipality to prepare the conference hall for use as a field hospital if the Covid-19 situation escalates.

Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Kaisorn Wisitwong on Wednesday said the provincial communicable disease control panel had decided to set up three field hospitals – at Phra Phrom Hospital, Walailak University and Phor Than Khlai Hospital.

They would receive patients with mild symptoms from established hospitals. 

The panel also resolved to extend the closure of service establishments, places vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus disease, from 14 days to until the Covid-19 situation eases, the governor said.

Walking streets and markets for tourism would be temporarily closed, while flea markets and fresh markets would be closed for at least two days for disinfecting and cleaning.

Group activities and festivals were ordered suspended except for funeral rites, where the number of mourners must be limited to 50 and all must strictly abide by disease control measures, the governor said.

Agitated residents gather in front of the conference hall, with cloth banners opposing any plan to set up a field hospital there for Covid-19 patients. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

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