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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai medic claims Burmese coronavirus a different strain, spreads 20% faster

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Dr Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says the coronavirus currently circulating in Myanmar is a different strain and is being transmitted 20% faster than the one detected in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. The Wuhan strain is known as D614, whereas the more virulent strain currently found in Western countries is G614. Prasit says around 60% of the cases in Myanmar are the G614 strain.

“G614, which can spread faster, therefore needs a faster response.”

Addressing the matter of Thai nationals sneaking back in to the country and bypassing quarantine, he warns that such behaviour will worsen the situation and put everyone’s health at risk.

“Only one slip can cause great damage to the country.”

He adds that Thais shouldn’t let their guard down as a result of vaccine breakthroughs, as they could be waiting some time for the jab.

“Don’t pin your hopes on it, as it could take at least half a year for Thailand to gain access to Covid-19 vaccines.”

Meanwhile, Opas Kankawinphong from the Disease Control Department says Thailand now has 46 cases of Covid-19 linked to infected Thais who returned from Myanmar. All patients are being treated in hospitals or state quarantine. Tests have been carried out on over 5,000 people who had contact with them. It’s understood only 1 person, a friend of a returnee, who travelled with that person, has tested positive. Yesterday was the first day in nearly 2 weeks that Thailand didn’t report a case of local transmission caused by illegal entry into the Kingdom.

According to Sopon Iamsirithaworn from the Division of Communicable Diseases, 55 people who had contact with the 51 year old Covid patient from the central province of Sing Buri have tested negative.

The Bangkok Post reports that around 400 Thai nationals are stuck in Myanmar. 42 who officially applied to return re-entered Thailand through the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge yesterday. In the northern province of Tak, which borders Myanmar, the governor says Thai nationals have been allowed to return through legitimate border crossings since the start of the week. Although Tak closed its border with Myanmar in March, officials are allowing returnees to enter via the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, in order to prevent illegal crossings.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai governor, Prachon Pratsakul, is calling on Thais who want to return from the Burmese town of Tachileik, to lodge their request with the Township Border Committee. However, he adds that they will face a fine of 1,800 baht per person for having entered Myanmar illegally.

It’s understood businesses in Chiang Rai who threatened to sue illegal returnees for the loss of business caused by Covid fears are putting their plans on hold for now. Anurat Inthon from the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce says opinion is divided on whether the returnees should face legal action.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    James Pate

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 10:50 am

    So- Now we have “regular” or, “extra crispy”.???

  2. Avatar

    Alte Ledertasche

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Wow….another genius Thai health official spreading fear. The corona G-strain is prevalent in Europe so should be in Thailand already via cases found in repatriated citizens from Europe.

    By the way this mutated strain comes – when you believe media – with less sebere symptoms and at a much lower death rate.

    So no reason to Panik.

    • Avatar

      Rasputin

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      Try telling that to Italy / France both of which have recently reported extraordinarily high rates of daily deaths. Italy in particular had 1000+ deaths in a single day.

      • Avatar

        Alte Ledertasche

        Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 7:33 pm

        People aged 70 years and over account for around more than 80 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Italy, France, Spain and Germany.

        Not really a thing to worry for me and in my opinion not a reason to shut all economies down and seed fear around the public. But a big business for the Pharma Industry.

        • Avatar

          clfeige

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:15 am

          but no one is asking you.

          • Avatar

            Alte Ledertasche

            Friday, December 11, 2020 at 10:28 am

            You think I care ?

  3. Avatar

    Rick

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 11:08 am

    The good Doctor says so but the story fails to tell us what this claim is based on. I can claim the Moon is made of green cheese but that doesn’t make it so. Is there any proof for this claim or is he just speculating? I think the writer should provide some evidence as this is a claim that may spread a lot of fear.

  4. Avatar

    Matteus

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    We won’t know anything for sure until Issan Johnny has commented.

  5. Avatar

    Vidal

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    As someone pointed out the chances of the Corona Virus existing in nature is less than having a bunch of monkeys with typewriters type out the entire works of Shakespeare word perfectly by randomly banging the keys.

    So, we have to ask ourselves Cui Bono? (who is benefiting from it) ??

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Maybe instead we have to ask ourselves ‘who pointed that out’?

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      The question is complete nonsense. You may as well ask the same question about all the living life forms on the planet. Viruses of various types evolve, and continue to evolve. Just like all other life forms.

  6. Avatar

    Mike

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Johnny got told off by teacher.

    • Avatar

      Rasputin

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Teacher? Johnny just put a raving lunatic conspiracy theorist in his place, and I have just put you in yours.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      Actually I think you’ll find Vidal “got told off”. Ho hummm ……

      • Avatar

        Rasputin

        Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 7:01 pm

        Yes he was, the comment was directed at Mike, try rereading the thread

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 2:02 am

          No offence, Rasputin, but while your comment was replying to me, which is why it’s inset more than mine, mine was ALSO replying to Mike (not to you), which is why it’s inset more than his and the same as yours – yours wasn’t there when I made my comment.

  7. Avatar

    Peter

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Unbelievable. Even when Thai’s begin to spread the virus, they manage to blame the West.
    Wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      Who’s “blaming” anyone?

      He’s simply pointing out the strain because it’s “G614, which can spread faster, therefore needs a faster response” so people need to be warned accordingly.

      The only thing that’s “unbelievable” here is just how stupid and racist some people commenting here are. but I suppose by now it shouldn’t be and should just be the sad norm.

  8. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Its the predominant strain across most of the world. Someone shut up these thai “experts”, they just keep making Thailand look stupid

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      God almighty.

      He’s pointing it out because it’s not unreasonable for people here to think that the predominant strain in Myanmar comes originally from China and so this strain does too, so he wants to highlight that it’s more contagious than the strain originating from China.

      What the hell’s “stupid” about that?

  9. Avatar

    ct

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    The fact is G14 is more prevalent than other strains. The theory (not fact) that it is “transmitted 20% faster than the one detected in Wuhan” is only a weak theory based on this report

    Is it a reason for extra alarm? No.

    Statistically, it’s likely that most COVID showing up in Thailand now, arriving from anywhere in the world (not just Myanmar) is going to be G14.

    So ignore the terrible headline of the article and focus on the important part:

    “Only one slip can cause great damage to the country.”
    He adds that Thais shouldn’t let their guard down as a result of vaccine breakthroughs, as they could be waiting some time for the jab.
    “Don’t pin your hopes on it, as it could take at least half a year for Thailand to gain access to Covid-19 vaccines.”

    Hope the government listens and:

    1. Begins to share actionable information immediately. Since it is clear we don’t have effective contact tracing in Thailand, useful information (what planes, buses, buildings, were infected individuals in), ideally posted from an updated, central, publicly accessible site.
    2. Doesn’t allow ASQ workers to mingle with the general public.
    3. Gets serious about the correct use of protective gear. We see gear worn improperly by staff in airports, hospitals, shopping malls every day.

    “Health officials suspect the first infected nurse contracted the virus while working at an alternative state quarantine facility. They say she failed to wear her protective gear properly while screening arrivals. Health officials believe she transmitted the virus to other nurses while out to eat after work.”

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 2:37 am

      ct, it’s not for me to tell you but links aren’t permitted here.

      While fair in an ideal world, I’m not sure your points are that practical.

      1. I’d suggest the contact tracing system’s not that bad here considering it’s purely voluntary, and all the information’s pretty easily accessible for anyone who wants to check.

      2. I don’t think it’s remotely practical to stop “ASQ workers” (and presumably hospital staff) “mingling with the public”. Even if they started a 14 day quarantine period at the same time as a customer that would mean they too would have to be quarantined for the same 14 days. Where? How?

      And as customers don’t all arrive and finish on the same day, but do so on any day on an ongoing basis, that would mean the “ASQ workers” would have to be quarantined indefinitely – for as long as the hotel was used for ASQ.

      It’s just not possible.

      3. Hospital and ASQ staff, ‘yes’, very much so, but “shopping mall” staff? In an ideal world, possibly, but it’s simply not practical. As it is, I think they’re generally doing a pretty impressive job staying masked up as they are for as long as they are, considering they’re not getting any extra allowance for doing so.

    • Avatar

      xavier

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:15 am

      Congrats, Connecticut… someone doing a proper recap on this publication. Agree all the points highlighted. The lack of transparency verus Covid becomes a good propeler for especualtion.

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Hi. Thanks for your detailed comment but we don’t allow links. But please quote from sources, just don’t link them.

      • Avatar

        ct

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 9:07 pm

        Since links aren’t allowed, if anyone wants to see a rational discussion of the transmissibility of the G14 strain, google “Why this coronavirus mutation is not cause for alarm” article of that title at National Geographic dot com.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 9:35 am

          The article, unfortunately, mainly concludes “we don’t know”, as at July.

          Hopefully there’s been more established since then.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 9:43 am

            The latest peer reviewed study I could find, 26 October in Nature, reaches the same conclusion – “not confirmed”.

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