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Thailand will declare Covid-19 endemic, whether WHO agrees or not

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 will become endemic in Thailand, but masks may still be needed. (via Thai Embasssy)

Regardless of whether the World Health Organisation agrees or not, Thailand plans to declare Covid-19 as an endemic disease by the end of this year according to the Ministry of Public Health. A meeting of the National Communicable Disease Committee was held today where the decision was made.

Thailand will create its own academically acceptable criteria for measuring whether Covid-19 is a pandemic or endemic reported the Health Permanent Secretary after the meeting. The decision would be made based on 3 criteria that Thailand is already very near to being met.

First, 80% of at-risk people must have received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Second, the daily Covid-19 infection rate must be under 10,000 cases per day, a figure that Thailand hasn’t surpassed since October 18. And finally, the death rate must not exceed 0.1%, about a ninth of where it hovers now at around 0.92%.

The Permanent Secretary explains that as the death rates fall and the infections are less severe, and as people are fully vaccinated, Covid-19 may ebb and surge, but the primary danger is past. If this persists, the Ministry of Public Health believes that the Covid-19 virus’s run as a pandemic in Thailand is over.

“In principle, the disease could spread but is not severe. The fatality rate is acceptable. There can be waves of the disease. But importantly, people must have adequate immunity. People must be vaccinated, and treatment systems efficient. After these criteria have been met for a while, this disease can be declared endemic in Thailand. When the situation is promising and the criteria fulfilled, the ministry will make an announcement.”

The government in Thailand intends to be proactive in working towards these goals instead of letting Covid-19 run its course though. They will take steps to drive the fatality rate and daily infections down while continuing to push the population of Thailand towards vaccinations.

While the details aren’t certain yet, the government is looking forward to a time when Covid-19 won’t be a daily national threat in Thailand, patients will be treated according to individual needs, and life can finally get back to normal. But, it’s yet to be determined whether face masks will be required for only patients, or for everyone in public or social situations.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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    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.

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