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Hundreds spend a night outside Bangkok temple waiting for Covid tests as Thailand suffers record number of daily deaths

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Hundreds camped outside the Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat Temple in Bangkok overnight for a chance to get a coronavirus test, as the pandemic runs rampant in Thailand, with a spike in cases and a record number of fatalities.

Despite the facility opening at 8am, Bangkok citizens desperate to know their viral status began queuing up to 14 hours beforehand, due to the temple operating its testing function only until the afternoon and having the capacity to screen just 900 people per day.

Some 500 people could be seen coming prepared with cardboard mats, blankets, and umbrellas to shelter them for their long night ahead, with many having to sleep by the road.

The scenes of the masses waiting for tests sparked outrage in some, with the founder of local newspaper The Standard writing in a tweet addressed to the prime minister and government, “See this picture, how do you feel?”

Others believed the government should have done more to manage the crowds through online bookings and sped up the testing by offering rapid tests at home, rather than making people congregate in unsafe conditions while cases are already skyrocketing.

On the same day, Thailand announced that it had registered the highest number of deaths in 24 hours since the pandemic began, with 75 people losing their lives to Covid-19.

The number of positive coronavirus infections in the country has spiked since mid-June, with July’s daily average of infections standing at more than 5,600.

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At present, only 12% of the population has received one dose, with less than 4.5% of the South-East Asian nation having been fully vaccinated with two. As of the end of June, 10.5 million doses of China’s Sinovac had been delivered to Thailand. The purchase of 10.9 million shots was confirmed on Wednesday, as well as more than 20 million doses of Pfizer’s. Other vaccines approved for usage in the country are Moderna’s, Janssen’s, Oxford/AstraZeneca’s, and China’s BBIBP-CorV.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Thailand has recorded over 300,000 Covid-19 cases and almost 2,500 deaths.

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