Health ministry sticking to plan to declare Covid-19 endemic by July

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The Public Health Ministry says it’s on track to declare Covid-19 endemic in Thailand by July 1, despite a prediction of increased deaths, particularly among the elderly. The Bangkok Post reports that Dr Chakkarat Pitayowonganon from the Department of Disease Control says it will take between 2 and 4 weeks to determine if case numbers will reach over 100,000 a day. This is the worst-case scenario, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Currently, infections are on a downward trend.

“Right now, we see a decline in the number of daily infections from about 30,000 PCR tests per day before the Songkran festival to only 16,000 cases per day.”

However, Chakkarat points out that deaths have increased, as has the number of Covid patients who require ventilators. He remains hopeful that any increase in cases after Songkran will be among working people, who tend not to develop severe symptoms.

“Personally, I am not much worried about the infections after the festival because the risk group is working people who develop fewer symptoms. Many have already received 1 or 2 booster doses. But the problem is that they can transmit the disease to old people in their families. We may see more deaths among the elderly.”

According to Chakkarat, provided no new variants emerge, Thailand should be in a position to declare the virus endemic by July 1. However, in order for this to happen, around 2 million unvaccinated people over the age of 60 need to be persuaded to have their first dose.

The health ministry has also urged businesses to allow employees to work from home for around 7 days after the Songkran holiday. Those who are unable to work from home should use antigen test kits prior to returning to work and again during the first week back.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Maya Taylor

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