Bodies literally left lying in Bangkok’s streets as COVID-19 takes heavy toll

A man infected with COVID-19 died in front of a temple in Bangkok’s old quarter. A few kilometers away, another body was found on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. A third man, 40, was discovered lying in front of a department store with no pulse.

In a grisly indicator of Thailand’s soaring pandemic toll, at least three people died in less than 24 hours in Bangkok’s streets, where their bodies were left lying to be filmed and photographed by passers-by without anyone attending to them.

The first body, discovered Tuesday morning, involved a COVID-19 stricken man who collapsed in front of Wat Bowonniwet. Although first aid was rendered, the man died at around 2pm and his body remained there until about 10pm. 

Not far away, the second body was found Tuesday evening on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. He was identified as Seri Rueangrojanarit, 60 of Rayong province. A worker in a protective suit came to retrieve the body later at 10:30pm. 

Thirdly, in the Khlong Toei district, police were alerted at around 8:30pm to a man lying in front of the Lotus’s shopping mall on Rama IV Road. According to Capt. Sumetat Bawonnnantakul of Thonglor Police, the man had no identification on him and no wounds on his body, which is undergoing an autopsy at Chulalongkorn Hospital. 

While only the first has been a confirmed case of COVID-19, the picture emerging today has many assuming they were victims of the disease who were unable to get help. Regardless of what killed them, the crunch on resources likely led to them dying unattended in the street. 

Hospitals are at their breaking point, with people waiting in the streets for beds. Others afraid they’ve contracted the disease have also had to wait, camping out overnight for a free test. There are complaints that the government should execute better crowd management by providing online reservations or offering affordable COVID-19 testing at hospitals. So-called rapid lateral flow tests, which can be taken at home, are available, but in very limited numbers. 

For weeks, Thailand has set records on infections and deaths almost daily. That trend continued today with a record 13,002 infections logged. There were 108 deaths.

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