Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UK variant arrives in Thailand, top virologist warns against unnecessary Songkran travel

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Luciano Teixeira on Pixabay

“Whatever will be, will be. The reason is, it’s a matter that involves a huge number of people. The government will have to try to cope with that later.” – Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

A prominent Thai virologist has confirmed that the so-called UK Covid-19 variant, aka B117, is behind the latest cluster of infections detected at Bangkok nightlife venues, and now potentially spreading out to other provinces. Prof. Yong Poovorawan from Chulalongkorn University warns that this variant is 1.7 times more contagious than the original one and is urging people to avoid unnecessary travel over the Songkran holiday.

“If possible, there should not be any travel or movement right now. If that’s not possible, it is highly necessary to have strict measures to control the disease. Without sufficient intervention taken to curb these high-risk activities (over Songkran), the number of new infections could even reach thousands per day.”

Officials say they are baffled as to how the variant reached the Kingdom, despite strict testing and quarantine protocols. Yong says the government now needs to balance the risk to elderly citizens with measures to stimulate the economy over Songkran.

“The reason is that if there are so many new cases of Covid-19, economic stimulus through promotion of tourism won’t work as nobody would want to travel to an epidemic zone. Visiting older relatives during this festival is good, but it won’t be good if such visits mean spreading the virus to them also.”

However, the Bangkok Post reports that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says the government will not impose a lockdown over Songkran, insisting that each province can implement its own disease prevention measures. He adds that the government will have to manage any potential fallout after the holiday.

“Whatever will be, will be. The reason is, it’s a matter that involves a huge number of people. The government will have to try to cope with that later. Of course, we can order a new lockdown and make everyone stay home (during the festival). But the question is will anyone be happy with that?”

Meanwhile, Yong is reportedly frustrated at the rate of vaccine rollout, warning of a need to ramp things up as a result of the new infections and the rapidly-spread variant.

“If Thailand can administer 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines per day, it will take about 3 years to achieve effective herd immunity against the pandemic, while if up to 300,000 doses are given a day, it will take only 1 year to achieve that goal.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Travel7 hours ago

10 Isan food you need to try at least once

Thailand7 hours ago

VIDEO: Floods tear through highway in northeast Thailand

Crime7 hours ago

13 murdered, including 7 kids by Russian neo-Nazi

Sponsored16 hours ago

International money transfers made fast, secure and transparent with DeeMoney Neo App

Thailand8 hours ago

Vegetarian Festival on Yaowarat Road starts today

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Baht continues surge against strong dollar

Bangkok9 hours ago

VIDEO: Fire falls like rain from communication cables in Bangkok

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand9 hours ago

Father allegedy kills daughter’s cat for stealing his meatballs

Central Thailand10 hours ago

Whale watching season begins in Phetcha Buri

Special Features10 hours ago

Top 10 studio condos in Phuket (2022)

Crime10 hours ago

Thai court overwhelmed with evidence in Forex-3D fraud case

Tourism11 hours ago

Airport expansion plans hastened across Thailand

Thailand11 hours ago

Viral video: American man joins Thai dance in Isaan rite

Politics12 hours ago

China backs Thailand to make APEC a success

Politics13 hours ago

Gen-Z students oppose an unelected senate 17 to 1

Thailand13 hours ago

Foreigner allegedly using dogs to scam Chiang Mai locals

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending