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Thailand’s top epidemiologist warns against shortening quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand’s top epidemiologist warns against shortening quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Thira Woratanarat
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Thailand’s top epidemiologist has repeatedly warned against opening Thailand back up to tourism. Now that health officials have started a 1-month study to determine if the mandatory quarantine period can be cut down to 10 days, the doctor is once again warning health officials.

Thira Woratanarat, from the Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, wrote on his Facebook page saying health officials should stick with the 14 day quarantine period. He says reducing the mandatory quarantine period could lead to local transmissions, and possibly another outbreak.

Health officials have upped Covid-19 testing at quarantine facilities to determine if the mandatory isolation period should be shortened from 14 to 10 days. Health officials initially tested people twice, first around the start of the quarantine and then around the end. Now people will be tested 3 times, on arrival, again on day 9 or 10 and then a third time on day 13 or 14.

The study ends on January 15. After the study, health officials with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will review the results and determine if the quarantine period should be reduced to 10 days.

Thira called for the study to stop. He warns that any misstep taken when opening up the borders could lead to another lockdown for several months.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Those who’ll put up with being quarantined for 10 days will almost certainly put up with being quarantined for 14, so even if the risk is low after 10 (rather than minimal after 14) what’s the point?

    Similarly, those for whom 14 days is too much aren’t likely to go for 10, so, again, what’s the point?

    • Avatar

      Ted

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:31 pm

      Agree! Zero days or let it be.

  2. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    The last four days are completely useless… 99.9% of the infection are identified before the day 8! This guy has his paycheck provided by the government contrarily to the million of Thais having lost everything and queueing for charity free food! One of my friend had a guy jumping from a rooftop and landing under her windows last week… But yeah, everything is rosy in Thailand!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      … and the source for that “99.9%” is what, exactly?

      Looking at just those testing positive during ASQ reported here, that’s very, very wide of the mark.

      Hopefully you’ll prove me wrong, but somehow I doubt it …..

      • Avatar

        Mike Frenchie

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm

        The boss of Minor group in a recent interview (on Thaiger)… Only three cases in his hotels after the first test (after 5-6 days) and his group hosts thousands of quarantined people.

      • Avatar

        Jack Sombra

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm

        By thai governments own data last time they talked about dropping to 10 days, it would increase risk by 0.001%. So he actually over estimated inceased risk by huge amount

  3. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    He is absolutely correct, and should be listened to. Is Thailand prepared to accept the shutdowns and onerous restrictions the West is currently experiencing, if he is ignored? I think not. The first people in would unlikely to be the ‘quality’ tourist Thailand professes it wants to attract. They would of course, be the highly motivated sex tourists, who have ‘gone without’ for a year or more. The very idea of such people social distancing and following the rules is hilarious in the extreme, to put it mildly. I guess we must wait and see, if you are under any doubt how quickly the situation can change for the worse, take a look at Germany (once the shining example of Europe).

    • Avatar

      Khao Lak

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      it’s always good to be careful – but it’s also nice to have enough food, I don’t know what is better for Thai people: to get Covid possibly oder to starve for sure.
      besides: not all tourists coming to Thailand are sex tourists!

      • Avatar

        Rasputin

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 8:17 pm

        Of course there are some travelers who are not coming to entertain the ladies of the night, but every time I have traveled here on business, 95% of the aeroplane seats were occupied by single older men. It can’t escape your notice that Pattaya’s entertainment industry is undeniably targeted at these aeroplane’s passenger list either, just stating the obvious, not moralising.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm

      Agreed, Rasputin. The idea of everybody being “sensible”, doing what’s “reasonable ” and “following the rules” when they can get away with it is, sadly, anything but funny.

      In the UK the informed estimate (from SAGE) is that barely 20% self-quarantine when returning from abroad or ‘track ‘n’ traced’ (in the unlikely event the UK’s t’n’ t works).

    • Avatar

      Robert Elliot

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      I agree the type of tourist you mention are probably the ones most desperate to get back. The end of this pandemic is in site, Thailand has avoided the worst of it, why loosen restrictions now.

  4. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Even with the 14 days we currently require, there have still been cases that seem to have incubated over a longer period of time.

    14 days is prudent. Relaxing now and possibly igniting another firestorm of cases is not.

    Thailand has been reasonably successful in keeping this thing under wraps, with the exception of a bunch of bar girls in Burma.

    I feel safe here…and think the 14-day restriction should remain in place.

    Better safe than sorry.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      “incubated over a longer period of time.”

      Are you sure about that? People who tested positive after the 14 days did they bring the virus from abroad or were they infected when staying in the ASQ? I also heard about the medical staff that got infected, so the way they work there is not 100% safe.

      • Avatar

        Mister Stretch

        Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm

        Yes, I am reasonably sure of that.

        There have been a couple of cases, here in Thailand, that seems to be explained no other way. One was a footballer, some months ago, and the other was a woman that the gov’t determined hadn’t been in contact with an active case during in the previous 15 days.

        Not being an epidemiologist, I refer to what I read.

    • Avatar

      Mike Frenchie

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:56 am

      You are safe until a starving guy may target your gold necklace (example)… high poverty is always triggering crimes – people do not starve without doing something… (i.e. the motorbike drivers at the corner of my street are only eating one lunch out of two… very sad for these poor guys)

  5. Avatar

    Remo

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    China has fooled the world with this 14 day incubation period and 4% case fatality rate.

    Since then we have learnt that the incubation period is 2-5 days , and the real fatalty rate is about 0.3-0.6%.

    It is so ridiculous that the WHO and many countries still believe these old Chinese lies.

    • Avatar

      Khao Lak

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

      that’s it

  6. Avatar

    Nick

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Thira Woratanarat hates tourist and
    foreigners, everybody knows, if up to him Thailand should never open their borders again.

  7. Avatar

    Ben

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Vaccination in the west has started and by the end of March most that want it will have it. Most countries will begin to open up fully to the vaccinated and Thailand will have to follow or risk looking foolish.

    Suggest they think about the solutions needed to attract who they want to attract after vaccination. An area that needs attention is the red tape tourists have to navigate which needs to be streamlined. I saw an article that Thailand will bring back the 30 day stamp (hopefully 45 days going forward) and not require a visa for countries like the USA and UK which is a step in the right direction.

    Nothing will happen in the next 3 months that’ll make a significant difference in their numbers.

    • Avatar

      London Al

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      Quite right, it’s the vaccine coupled with testing which will open the unquarantined doors, on that basis as you say it will be slow return but that’s probably a good thing and just a few tourists will perk everyone up in Samui, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, etc

  8. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:03 am

    I just find it so unbelievable that once again its people in quarantine never anybody out on the streets that has covid lol
    This guy’s prob got shares in the quarantine hotels

  9. Avatar

    London Al

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    The Thai government want tourists back, of course they do, it’s not about whether they’re sex tourists or golf tourists or whatever, it’s about them spending money and getting the economy going again, what they rightly don’t want is tourists bringing Covid to Thailand after they’ve done such a great job keeping it to a minimum.

    The answer is the vaccine coupled with testing, in order for someone like me to slip through the net I would have to be in the 6 to 10% for whom the vaccine doesn’t work, I would then have to contract Covid (in UK well over 99% of the population don’t have it), then I would have to be in the 30% who are asymptomatic, then I would have to produce 3 consecutive false negative tests in 2 different countries (1 in UK, 2 in BKK).

    The odds of all this happening run into millions to one and if the Thai government see it this way then there is no reason why a fully vaccinated and tested person can’t visit Thailand without quarantine, maybe as soon as February, I hope so.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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