New Covid-19 sub-variants strike Thailand

Photo courtesy of The Today Show

Thailand has uncovered 13 cases of the KP.2 and KP.3 or FLiRT sub-variants of the Omicron JN.1 Covid-19 variant.

Dr Yongyot Thummavudhi, the Director-General of the Medical Sciences Department, issued a stern warning, revealing that the severity of these new strains remains a mystery due to insufficient data.

“Omicron JN1 and its offshoots continue to loom large over Thailand. JN.1, stemming from the BA.2.86 variant, is proving to be twice as contagious, dominating in a staggering 116 countries.”

Despite the dominance of JN.1, only a fraction, 1.79% and 0.79%, of the over 500 cases identified in Thailand involve the KP.2 and KP.3 variants, respectively. Furthermore, cases of XDK1 and XDR1, blending with other variants, have also surfaced, sparking concerns.

“However, there’s no indication that XDR1 or XDK1 poses a heightened threat compared to other sub-variants.”

While acknowledging a slight uptick in infection rates over the past fortnight, Dr Yongyot urged the public to remain calm but vigilant, reported Thai PBS World.

“Covid-19 is now part of our daily lives. Let’s continue practising preventive measures such as mask-wearing, avoiding crowds, and maintaining hand hygiene.”

In related news, the General Insurance Fund (GIF) proposed an expedited payment option for Covid-19 policyholders, where they can avail of an immediate reduced payout rather than wait for a decade for the full claim. This could mean receiving 60 baht now instead of 100 baht in the future, according to Finance Permanent Secretary Lavaron Sangsnit.

Governmental body GIF was formed to safeguard policyholders against insolvencies in the insurance sector, ensuring owed debt payments from insurers whose business licences were revoked.

In other news, the Department of Disease Control announced that out of the 20 million Thai citizens who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, seven developed blood clots, with two resulting in fatalities. These adverse effects were confirmed to occur within 42 days post-inoculation.

The Director-General of the Disease Control Department, Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, spoke about the vaccine’s side effects, emphasising that the incidences of blood clotting were known globally and were anticipated.

Covid-19 NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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