Covid-19 infection rate, totals in international travellers surging

FILE PHOTO: The infection rate and amount of infected international travellers to Thailand are increasing.

While the government suspended the Test & Go scheme in order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant last month, people who are already approved are still trickling in, and many have come as part of the Sandbox programme. Despite throttling the influx of international travellers, the number of Covid-19 infections brought in from abroad has been steadily rising, and the infection rate among those who arrive has sharply increased, with Russia leading the pack.

In November when the government reopen the borders across Thailand to international travellers with 3 different entry schemes depending on country of origin and vaccination status, out of about 133,000 international arrivals, the rate of infection was just 0.13%. In December as more people began travelling to Thailand, that infection rate tripled to 0.45% with nearly 291,000 arrivals.

But so far in the first half of January, with the highly transmissible Omicron variant surging around the world, infection rates skyrocketed to nearly 8 times higher as infections were found in the approximately 116,000 people who have arrived this year at a rate of 3.42%.

Interestingly, the rate is lowest among those who did the Happy Quarantine programme, with a 2.05% infection rate. The Sandbox scheme and the Test & Go plan were similar in infection rates, with 3.74% and 3.57% respectively.

A total of 282 Covid-19 infections were found in recent international arrivals yesterday from a total 51 different countries. Travellers coming from Russia made up the largest demographic with 59 total infected passengers, 58 of them as part of the Test & Go scheme while one of them was a quarantine traveller.

That’s more than double the country with the second most infections, the US, which had 29 total infections, 10 of which were from the Sandbox, 3 from Test & Go, and 6 from quarantine. Nearly half of those travellers, 14 in total, were returning Thai nationals.

Germany and Sweden followed with 18 and 17 infections respectively and then France and the UK from which 14 Covid-19 infections each were identified. Rounding out the top 10 were the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Denmark, and Australia.

1 Russia 59 58 0 1
2 United States 29 2 (1 Thai) 20 (10 Thai) 6 (3 Thai)
3 Germany 18 7 11 0
4 Sweden 17 4 13 (3 Thai) 0
5 France 14 5 8 1 (1 Thai)
6 United Kingdom 14 5 9 (3 Thai) 0
7 United Arab Emirates 12 0 8 (all Thai) 4 (3 Thai)
8 Switzerland 10 0 7 3
9 Denmark 8 1 5 2 (1 Thai)
10 Australia 8 1 7 (1 Thai) 0

SOURCE: Ministry of Public Health

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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.

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