Majority of Thais unhappy with government's handling of Covid-19

Total cases have increased more than five times nationwide, while the death toll jumped more than ten times in two months.
Total cases have increased more than five times nationwide, while the death toll jumped more than ten times in two months.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - The majority of Thais are not satisfied with the government's management of the latest - and worst - wave of coronavirus infections, according to a new poll that cites policy delays, a slow vaccine roll-out and lax measures as the reasons.

About 53 per cent of 1,312 respondents said they were either "not quite satisfied" or "not satisfied at all" with the government's handling of Covid-19 issues since Thailand's largest outbreak sprouted in early April, according to a poll published on Tuesday (June 1) by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida).

Still, 46 per cent of respondents said they were either "quite satisfied" or "very satisfied" as the government was "doing its best", the Nida poll said.

Since Thailand's third wave began in April, infections have spread from Bangkok's night entertainment venues into the capital city's crowded communities, prisons, construction worker camps, and, most recently, factories in other provinces.

Total cases have increased more than five times nationwide, while the death toll jumped more than ten times in two months. On Tuesday, the country added 2,230 new infections and 38 deaths.

About 62 per cent of the poll's participants said they would be willing to receive free shots from the government's vaccination drive that currently relies on supplies from Sinovac Biotech and AstraZeneca.

Another 18 per cent said they would not get any Covid-19 vaccines, while 16 per cent said they would be willing to pay for alternative shots from private hospitals.

Thailand's current pace of vaccine roll-out is restricted by limited supplies.

To date, about 3.6 million doses of vaccines have been administered, covering only 2.6 per cent of the population.

The slow deployment risks leading to more infections, threatening the government's plan for economic recovery and tourism reopening.

The official target is to inoculate 70 per cent of the population by the end of this year.