Dr Somsak Akhasilp, the DMS director-general, said the virus dies when its host dies and there is no chance of it being transmitted to another person.
He was referring to the 70-year-old man who died on Monday evening (Mar 23) at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute after a 50-day battle with the virus. News of his death was posted on Facebook by his son.
The elderly man worked as the driver of a tour bus for Chinese tourists, the post read, in which the son also wrote that many temples had refused to perform funeral services for his father out of fear that the disease could still be communicable.
Dr Somsak yesterday gave his assurance that the virus stops spreading once its host dies, and in the elderly patient’s case, checks confirmed the coronavirus had left his system long before he succumbed to severe illness.
The son said the virus had damaged his father’s lungs to the point where they could not be repaired.
Dr Somsak said COVID-19 patients fall into three categories: those who exhibit mild, medium and severe symptoms. Those with a mild condition hardly show any symptoms. They are kept in hospital for at least two days before being transferred to a room in one of the converted hotels for 14 days to fully recover.
Patients in the medium group usually suffer from other chronic ailments and are given two HIV/Aids retroviral drugs until they regain full function of their lungs.
Those with severe symptoms require a respirator and have to be administered Favilavir, an antiviral drug.
Meanwhile, Phra Khru Sitthiwat, abbot of Wat Pai Lorm in Nakhon Pathom, said his temple was willing to arrange the funeral rites for the COVID-19 victim. He added that the service will be free. The abbot also said people at the temple are not afraid of the disease because they have been arranging cremations for HIV/Aids victims for 15 years now.