Thailand watching BQ.1.1 variant as Covid rules ease

PHOTO: The new Covid Omicron BQ.1.1 variant is on Thailand's watchlist. (via Medpage Today)

As Thailand prepares to eliminate the last of the Covid-19 protections for the country, a new highly contagious variant of Omicron has been put on the country’s watch list. The BQ.1.1 variant was first confirmed in the UK last month and has so far only infected a meagre 78 people, but those cases have been spread throughout 10 different countries already.

The Centre for Medical Genomics at Ramathibodi Hospital reported that Thailand is keeping a close eye on the variant as the GISAID which tracks Covid worldwide has reported 28 new cases recently. It is feared that the new highly virulent strain could spread quickly to replace the BA.5 strain as the dominant Covid variant in the world.

Though the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health says daily infections have declined and Covid is under control in Thailand, threats like this new strain serve as a reminder of the ministry’s plan for regular annual or biannual booster shots to keep this in any new variants from exploding into another epidemic.

With vaccination rates high now, people are getting booster shots on top of their two original vaccines, with some on their second or third booster already. The Department of Disease Control is now researching before making an official recommendation on how frequently people should top up their vaccinations.

Related news

The Public Health Ministry currently recommends a space of about four months between each new vaccine booster and stressed that communities who continuously vaccinate will maintain stronger immunity to prevent any resurgence of the coronavirus. They also advised that the time frames for future regular vaccinations will likely be revised as situations evolve, and the ministry is making adjustments to their plans on how many vaccines to purchase, after originally planning 80 million jabs for next year.

With Thailand phasing-out vaccine passports and Covid testing for arrivals, the future of the containment or spread of the virus in the coming months remains to be seen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

  • Win a 3-night beachfront stay at Four Points by Sheraton Phuket by taking a short Thaiger Survey HERE!

Covid-19 NewsThailand News

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.

Related Articles