Bangkok surges back above 10,000 Covid infections per day

Covid-19 infections have surged back to over 10,000 infections per day, in Bangkok alone. This time driven by the BA.5 sub-variant, and mostly identified through community testing and ATK results. Health officials also admit that many people are testing themselves at home, taking days off work and not registering their results with the health care system.

Thailand’s last wave, driven by the BA.2 ‘Omicron’ reached 28,379 on April 1 this year. The number of cases continued to fall until the start of July when they started to creep back up. The number of hospitalisations has also increased but the number of severe cases or deaths is still quite low.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration claims that the city is ready to cope with another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and predicts that the city could be faced with tens of thousands of BA.5 patients when the current surge hits its peak at the end of August.

Half of Thailand’s current wave of cases have emerged in the capital, a combination of mostly the BA.2 variant and the latest BA.5 sub-variant.

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Head of the Centre for Excellence in Clinical Virology, Faculty of Medicine, at the Chulalongkorn University, Dr Yong Poovorawan, says health officials are ready for the BA.5 surge and have been able to identify its characteristics when compared to earlier variants of coronavirus.

“As the BA.5 subvariant has the ability to elude protection from the virus, produced after vaccinations and infections, it is by far the most infectious Covid strain, because it can infect those who are already vaccinated or previously recovered from a Covid infection.”

The BA.5 subvariant first spread in South Africa at the start of this year. It quickly became the most popular strain of Covid-19 in most countries and was first identified in Thailand in April. Thailand has, generally, been behind the curve with the arrival of new variants since the Delta wave which was spreading around the world from early 2021 but didn’t peak in Thailand until the middle of August.

Three Bangkok schools closed down in the past two weeks after more than 900 infections were detected in each of the schools.

“With the recent timing to resume on-site teaching at public schools nationwide… the virus will spread easily among students in schools. It can then further spread to their family members and infect large numbers of people.”

BMA figures over the last week indicate about 2,000–3,000 PCR-detected Covid infections a day, plus another 5,000–6,000 more ATK cases.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health says they only detect an official 2,000 or so cases per day.

“…because the BA.5 Omicron subvariant generally causes mild sickness among healthy people, a large number of infected people who have few symptoms are not reported.”

“This strain can still cause severe symptoms among vulnerable groups.”

Bangkok’s new governor Chadchart Sittipunt says the BMA has introduced four new initiatives in the wake of the rising BA.5 infections around Bangkok.

• Adding an extra working day for all Public Health Centres on Saturdays

• Opening walk-in vaccination booths at the centres every Friday and Saturday

• Proactive Covid-19 screening at schools

• Proactive vaccination campaign to target “vulnerable groups”

He also urged the people to keep up their guard and strictly follow Covid-19 prevention measures, including wearing face masks in public areas.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Bangkok NewsCovid-19 News

Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.

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