Bodies in the streets raise fears that they might be victims of the pandemic
by Steve Suwannarat

As more coronavirus cases are reported, the images of three bodies in a central part of the Thai capital have gone viral on social media. The Thai government inks a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of its vaccine, but delivery is expected only in the last quarter of 2021.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – While the COVID-19 emergency rages on, the bodies of three men were found in the streets of the Thai capital of Bangkok, their grisly images all over social media and blogs.

According to the latest official count, some 13,000 cases were reported in Thailand in the last 24 hours with 108 deaths for a total of 3,610.

The first man collapsed in front of the Wat Bowonniwet Buddhist temple, near Sukhumvit Road, one of Bangkok’s main thoroughfares. Although first aid was provided, he died on site; his body was moved only late in the evening.

A second body, that of a 60-year-old man, was found a few kilometres away, on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, in a posh area of the city, with government ministries, royal buildings, as well as military and police headquarters.

The third body, that of a 40-year-old man, was found near a department store in Khlong Toey district, in the port area​​, known for its slums, once among the largest in Asia.

The death of the first man was attributed to COVID-19 while testing is ongoing on the remains of the other two men.

Whatever the case, leaving bodies in the streets is a new and shocking development for Bangkok, one of Asia’s most populous and vibrant cities with a population of 12 million.

A strict lockdown with night curfew is in place in the capital along with several neighbouring and southern provinces,

Three more provinces could be added in the coming days; meanwhile, the authorities seem unable to guarantee an adequate supply of vaccines.

According to government sources, an agreement reached in recent hours with Pfizer would see the pharmaceutical firm deliver 20 million doses, but only in the last quarter of the year.

So far, the vaccination rollout has targeted workers most at risk, i.e., public sector employees, the military and police, using mostly Chinese vaccines.

The recent discovery of the absence of antibodies in at least 800 health workers vaccinated with two doses has raised questions about the effectiveness of such vaccines, increasing fears among ordinary Thais and pressures on the authorities.