Coronavirus (Covid-19)PhuketThailand

Masks recommended in crowds amid Covid increase

PHOTO: Authorities have once again recommended wearing masks in crowded places. (via Redbubble)

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Covid-19 pandemic it’s that people just absolutely love wearing masks. They can’t wait to start wearing them when outbreaks occur, and they look forward to wearing them regularly for the foreseeable future. For those of you who love wearing masks, the Ministry of Public Health advised yesterday that, in crowded places, wearing masks is now strongly advised.

The announcement comes in response to a surge in new Covid infections across Thailand ranging from 10% to 20% increases. After a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) has not yet declared whether they will be pushing a similar mask recommendation locally.

The PPHO had a video call with the secretary yesterday and discussed several Covid topics, including risk compensations, vaccine management, and other related issues. In the report following the meeting, there was no mention of any mask-wearing recommendation.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health Dr Opas Karnkawinpong has already publicly stated that, as Covid statistics worsen, mask-wearing is strongly encouraged to prevent larger outbreaks. He also called on all hospitals to be vigilant about administering booster vaccines to keep people’s inoculations current against the Coronavirus. He warns that as new infections rise, so could the death toll.

“There are about 10 daily fatalities related to COVID-19 at this time. The toll could rise slightly along with the increasing number of daily cases. The situation should improve again after the new year. The ministry wants 70% of the total population to have booster shots but it is still difficult to reach that target. The number of people getting jabs is declining on the recently improved COVID-19 situation.”

So far, about 68.8% of the eligible population in Phuket have had a booster vaccine, and another 40.13% have had a second booster shot, according to the PPHO. While the growing number of infections is cause for concern, most cases are still outpatients with relatively mild symptoms. Though masks are highly recommended, there’s not any current fear of hospital overcrowding or inability to treat the influx of new Covid infections according to The Phuket News.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.