Four different Covid-19 variants detected in Thailand

Photo via Facebook/ กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Four different Covid-19 variants have been detected in Thailand since April 1, the start of the latest wave of the coronavirus. More than 100,000 people have contracted the virus and more than 700 Covid patients over the past couple of months.

The original strain of SARS-CoV-2 spread from Wuhan, China to Thailand back in January of last year. The first wave of infections peaked in April of last year at less than 1,500 active infections. There are now around 45,000 active Covid-19 cases.

Outbreaks at nightclubs and bars in Bangkok’s fashionable Thong Lor district are said to have sparked the latest wave of infections, rapidly spreading throughout Thailand and prompting officials to set nationwide disease control restrictions. Many of the patients who had visited the bars and nightclubs tested positive for the B.1.117 variant of the virus that was first found in the UK and is said to be more contagious than the common strain.

On May 5, the P.1 variant of the virus, which was first reported in Brazil, was found in Thailand, but the infection was detected and contained in quarantine, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Last week, 36 workers at a construction camp in Bangkok’s Lak Si district tested positive for the B.1.617 variant, which was first found in India. On Saturday, health officials reported that the B.1.351 strain, first found in South Africa, was found in the southern province Narathiwat, bordering Malaysia. Medical Science Department director-general says the B.1.351 variant was only found in the Tak Bai district and samples are now being collected from Covid patients in Songkhla and Phatthalung to check.

“This variant is much more powerful than the British and Indian variants because it has a stronger effect on the body and prior immunity from Covid-19 will not protect us against this variant. I am very worried that the vaccine might not be able to help.”

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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