Thai health ministry says downgrading Covid-19 will take some time
Thailand’s health ministry says the government needs more time before downgrading Covid-19 to a communicable disease requiring close surveillance. In February 2020, the virus was classified as a dangerous communicable disease, in order to enable the Thai authorities to react swiftly to contain the spread.
Now, with the situation beginning to ease nationally and globally, officials are working towards downgrading the illness. However, according to a Bangkok Post report, health minister Anutin Charnvirakul says it will still take a number of weeks before any decision is taken. Once the virus has been downgraded, it will mean the government is no longer obliged to cover treatment costs.
“As the situation changes, the government doesn’t want to take on more of a financial burden. Covid-19 patients should resort to their own health insurance packages as is the case for other diseases.”
With bars and other nightlife venues allowed to re-open in 31 provinces as of yesterday, Anutin says infections are likely to increase. However, provided most do not suffer severe symptoms, this will not affect things.
“We allowed (nightlife outlets) to re-open because we’re moving into the mode of a communicable disease.”
He adds that while the emergency decree is still in place, officials can still prohibit large gatherings and order Covid patients or those at risk of being infected into quarantine. Re-classifying Covid-19 as a communicable disease under surveillance will need to be approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
“This will be proposed to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration because the decree on emergency situations remains in force. There are several steps before we get to declare the virus an endemic disease.”
Anutin says officials met yesterday to discuss a timeline for according the virus endemic status. He says that if the situation continues to improve and life begins to return to normal, the government will cancel the state of emergency and re-classify the virus.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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