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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health officials checking for additional cases of South African variant in South

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/UN Women Asia and the Pacific

Samples taken from Covid-19 patients in southern Thailand are being tested to check for the highly-contagious, so-called South African variant. Supphakit Siriluck from the Medical Science Department says so far, the variant has only been found in Narathiwat province, but samples from patients in Songkhla and Phatthalung are also being analysed.

Supphakit says that at the moment, the world is concerned about 5 different strains, named after the location where they were first reported. They are the British, South African, Brazilian, Indian, and Californian variants. Supphakit points out that Thailand has limited information on these variants and must do everything to prevent them entering or spreading in the Kingdom.

He adds that the South African, or B.1.351 variant, was first detected in Narathiwat at the weekend, after illegal immigrants in the Tak Bai district were found to be carrying it. What was 3 cases has now become 8, following the analysis of additional samples.

“This variant was only found in Tak Bai. The department has asked for more samples (from Covid-19 patients) in the Hat Yai district of Songkhla, and Phatthalung, to check for the variant. 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.”

The Bangkok Post reports that 36 out of 62 infections reported at a construction camp in the Laksi district of the capital have been confirmed as the Indian variant.

Meanwhile, Supphakit says officials are checking all arrivals in state quarantine for newly-imported variants.

“Its first point of entry is likely to be in state quarantine so we are trying to investigate this group.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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