Covid-19 patients in Thailand who face the risk of developing severe symptoms are entitled to free treatment at any hospital under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patents Plus (UCEP Plus) scheme, the Department of Medical services chief said on Friday.

Somsak Ankasil said this regulation applies to the “608 group” or people who are 60 and above, those who suffer from any of the seven chronic conditions aged 12 and above, and women who are 12 weeks or more into their pregnancy.

Under the UCEP Plus scheme, which has been in effect since March 1, Covid-19 patients who do not require critical care (green category) must cover their own bills at private hospitals. However, those suffering from moderate to severe symptoms (yellow and red patients) and require close monitoring or respirators can seek treatment at any hospital for free.

“Hospitals are not allowed to refuse treatment to any patient that falls under the 608 group. If no beds are free, then the hospital can transfer the patient to other hospitals nearby,” Somsak said.

“In case a yellow category patient does not display any symptoms and prefers not to be admitted to hospital, the doctor may consider letting them receive treatment at home on a case-by-case basis.”