Omicron variant

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    First case of new Omicron variant ‘XE’ detected in Thailand

    Thailand now has its first case of a new variant of a new Covid-19 Omicron variant. Yesterday, the Centre for Medical Genomics Ramathibodi Hospital confirmed tests of Thailand’s first case of the new recombinant variant, a hybrid of the BA.1 and BA.2 variants. The World Health Organisation flagged concerns about the new variant last Tuesday, warning that XE could be the…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Concern over new Omicron mutation discovered in Hong Kong

    A leading health expert in Thailand has expressed concern about a new Omicron sub-variant that has surfaced in Hong Kong. Dr Chalermchai Boonyaleephan, the vice chair of the Public Health Commission, says Omicron has now mutated into 3 sub-variants, the latest being the BA.2.2 mutation reported in Hong Kong. The territory is currently experiencing its worst Covid-19 wave to date,…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    WHO issues cautious prediction of Covid “ceasefire” in Europe’s war on pandemic

    Europe could be in for “a ceasefire that could bring us enduring peace” in terms of the war on Covid-19, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO Europe director Hans Kluge says the milder Omicron variant, high vaccination rates and the end of winter approaching all combine to promise a “long period of tranquillity”. According to an AFP report, Kluge…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron in Thailand reaches 14, 1 death

    After earlier reports that 9 cases of the new sub-strain of Omicron, the BA.2 sub-variant, had been identified in Thailand so far, that total has already increased to 14. The infections in Thailand involve both Thai nationals and international travellers. It was also confirmed that the first death in Thailand from the Omicron variant reported earlier this month was in…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    WHO says Europe could be heading for end of pandemic following Omicron surge

    The World Health Organisation’s Europe director says the region could be headed for the end of the pandemic. According to an AFP report, Hans Kluge says the highly-contagious Omicron variant is likely to infect 60% of Europeans by March. This could move the virus into a new phase and herald the end of its pandemic status in Europe, once the…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Free Covid-19 testing events in Bangkok daily throughout January

    With Covid-19 infections on the rise, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration launched a series of testing events in 80 communities around the city through the end of January. The campaign is aimed at proactive testing to identify and hopefully contain infections as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads quickly through the city and the country. The series of testing events began…

  • Phuket News

    Mask rules enforcement starts with campaigns in Bangla and Phuket Town

    Strong punishment is written into the laws for violating Covid-19 rules laid out in the Emergency Decree and the Communicable Diseases Act, but they have rarely been enforced. So when it was announced that Phuket Police would be cracking down on foreigners not wearing masks, many questioned whether any action would be taken. But last night, police began enforcing the…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Omicron accounts for 90% of new infections in Thailand

    In Thailand, the highly transmissible Omicron variant is quickly overtaking the Delta variant as the primary strain of new Covid-19 infections in the country. The top virologists in the country have revealed that 90% of new infections in Thailand now are of the Omicron variant which is much more contagious than earlier strains but also generally less severe than the…

  • Tourism News

    The return of Test & Go? Health Minister to propose entry scheme be restored

    Thailand’s Public Health Minister says he’s backing the restoration of the Test & Go entry scheme as concerns about the Omicron variant subside. Test & Go was suspended around 4 weeks ago as the highly-contagious Covid-19 variant spread around the globe. Now, Anutin Charnvirakul says he’ll ask the CCSA to consider bringing it back, as well as easing a number…

  • World News

    13-day quarantine enacted for travellers from Thailand to Japan

    Japan has announced new restrictions for travellers from Thailand entering the country, who must now undergo a 13-day quarantine on arrival. The new restriction will go into effect tomorrow and will affect travellers coming from Thailand and 4 other countries. The new restrictions follow a farther-reaching announcement on January 15 easing restrictions for the rest of the world, replacing the…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Thailand’s first Omicron variant Covid-19 death in Hat Yai

    An official from the Ministry of Public Health announced that today Thailand had its first reported death from the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The death recorded in Songkhla province in the south of Thailand was an 86 year old woman from Hat Yai. She had Alzheimer’s and was bedridden. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health said the elderly…

  • Tourism News

    Covid-19 infection rate, totals in international travellers surging

    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,…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Covid-19 exposure quarantine may be reduced to 7 days

    As officials reevaluate the Covid-19 restrictions piled on with the outbreak of the Omicron variant, the current directive of 14-day quarantine for groups who are considered at risk with Covid-19 infections may be reduced to just 7 days. The Permanent Secretary for Public Health said that the Ministry of Public Health is considering reducing the time that people are kept…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Omicron stabilising, officials consider easing Covid-19 restrictions

    While infections of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have caused a sharp rise in the daily statistics, deaths and even hospitalisations have not been as affected, causing the Ministry of Public Health to call for an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Numbers of fatalities, as well as those on ventilators and in ICUs still remain low, says Minister of Public Health…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Molnupiravir, the Covid-19 pill, to be developed in Thailand

    The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is planning to partner with Chulabhorn Research Institute to develop a domestic version of Molnupiravir, the Covid-19 antiviral pill. The announcement was made by Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul in response to the rising Omicron variant outbreak proliferating across Thailand, sending daily infection rates soaring again. Molnupiravir was developed in the US by a joint…

  • Phuket News

    Phuket has surging Covid-19, but 95% of infections are mild

    Phuket is experiencing a surge in new Covid-19 infections, with daily figures skyrocketing to some of the highest levels since the pandemic began. But, the Deputy Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital says that there is a silver lining, because about 95% of new cases are experiencing either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The Deputy Director said yesterday that…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    First batch of 35 baht ATKs from the GPO on sale today

    To combat the rising prices and scarcity of antigen test kits as the Omicron variant and Covid-19 fears spread throughout Thailand, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation announced the purchase of 3.5 million ATKs to be sold at 35 baht each, with millions more in the works. This morning, the first batch of ATKs went on sale at GPO branches and were…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Study: Sinovac with a Pfizer booster more effective than AstraZeneca

    New studies show that between Sinovac and AstraZeneca combined with Pfizer, the most effective vaccine cocktail combination is 2 doses of Sinovac followed by a full dose of Pfizer as a booster shot. The studies have been collected by Siriraj Clinical Research Centre in Bangkok, and directly contradicts a study at Yale University last week that said the Sinovac-Pfizer combination…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    GPO to sell ATKs at 35 baht amid increased testing demand

    The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is working to make available millions of cheap antigen test kits as some areas in the country are reporting shortages amid Covid-19 infection surges and Omicron fears. The GPO just announced a deal to sell 3.5 million ATKs at 35 baht per kit, the lowest price seen in Thailand. A new deal signed by the GPO…

  • Asia

    Hospitals in the Philippines prepare more beds amid surge in infections in Manila

    Officials in the Philippines have ordered hospitals to prepare more beds and resources, in response to a surge in infections in Manila. According to a Reuters report, the capital leads the way with record case numbers, with nearly 60% of 28,707 infections reported in the Manila region. Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles says health authorities have also been ordered to…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Bangkok opens new Covid-19 testing centre amid surge in infections

    A new Covid-19 testing centre, capable of conducting up to 1,000 tests a day, will open in Bangkok tomorrow, as the capital grapples with a surge in new cases. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says it will be on the first floor of Car Park Building B at the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road. According to a Bangkok Post…

  • Thailand News

    Experts say Omicron variant infections widely underreported

    While the Omicron variant is now estimated to account for about 30% of all new Covid-19 infections in Thailand, experts believe that the actual number of cases of the strain is massively underreported. Dr Yong Poovorawan, the chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University, says that the more intensive testing…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Bangkok to begin Pfizer vaccines for children 5-11 next month

    The next round of the vaccine rollout is being prepared now by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and aims to use Pfizer vaccines for children under 12 years old. The rollout will be launched next month and will allow children between the ages of 5 years old and 11 years old to get vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine. While children over…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Restaurant alcohol sales, tightening quarantine on CCSA agenda today

    It’s an all-too familiar scenario at this stage, and one that will have restaurateurs and others in the hospitality and tourism sectors putting their heads in their hands. While we must emphasise that nothing is confirmed yet, the CCSA meets today to consider a number of tough curbs proposed by the Public Health Ministry. Based on Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    3.7 million Moderna vaccines arriving in January, 1.3 million today

    Jabby New Year’s! The start of 2022 will see a total of 3.7 million Moderna vaccines arriving in Thailand to continue to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, with the first 1.3 million doses arriving today. Zuellig Pharma Therapeutics, the distributers of the Moderna vaccine will be delivering the 3.7 million vaccines in 3 shipments to the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation and private…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Dr Yong: Omicron spike imminent, get booster to end pandemic

    Dr Yong Poovorawan, the chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University and Thailand’s top virologist authority, advised the people of Thailand to expect a dramatic increase in Covid-19 in Thailand, especially of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. His view is similar to that of Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul,…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Anutin: rise in Covid-19 infections is from careless New Year’s

    Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul says that the surge in new Covid-19 infections is to be expected after the New Year’s holiday, but the fact that the number of daily deaths has not risen significantly is it good sign following current scientific data that reveals that the Omicron variant is more transmissible but less severe than the currently dominant…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Government considers new restrictions as Omicron infections rise across Thailand

    The Thai government fears a surge of “tens of thousands” of new Covid-19 infections, according to a Reuters report. The report says officials are considering implementing new disease prevention measures such as a ban on alcohol sales in restaurants and limiting large gatherings. Yesterday, Thailand reported 3,899 new Covid-19 cases, with data showing Omicron infections have tripled compared to last…

  • Phuket News

    Phuket governor says island will remain open for tourists, despite rise in infections

    The governor of Phuket has reassured local businesses that the island remains open for tourists under its sandbox scheme. Narong Wunsiew says that despite a steep rise in Covid-19 case numbers, there are no plans for a lockdown. “As we aim to contain Covid-19 while boosting the economy, we have received pleas for us not to shut down the island…

  • Tourism News

    Test & Go suspension results in mass cancellations for remainder of high season

    Thailand’s high season looks to be over already, with tourism operators reporting a surge in cancellations and plummeting hotel occupancy. The development follows the government’s decision to suspend the Test & Go entry scheme amid concerns about the highly-contagious Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading around the world. The Bangkok Post reports that tourism operators are reporting a rise in…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Virologist explains reduced potency of Omicron infections

    A leading virologist and health expert in Thailand has laid out his beliefs on Omicron’s lack of potency and why it’s a step in the right direction. Dr Yong Poovorawan is the chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University. He has served as a top advisor on Covid-19 in Thailand…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    Omicron Update: 2,062 infections in 54 Thailand provinces

    Thailand and hope to avoid an outbreak of Omicron for as long as possible, but the highly transmissible variance spread was unavoidable. Now there are over 2,000 cases of Omicron infections across 54 provinces in Thailand according to the Department of Medical Science. DMS Director-General Dr Supakit Sirilak discussed the spread of Omicron and detailed the provinces with the most…

  • Phuket News

    Phuket hotels to offer isolation rooms for asymptomatic guests who refuse hospital

    Phuket hoteliers have come up with a solution for asymptomatic guests who test positive for the Omicron variant but refuse to be transferred to hospital. Kongsak Khoopongsakorn from the Thai Hotels Association says in order to keep Phuket’s re-opening going, tourists who test positive but have no symptoms should be offered isolation facilities at their hotel instead of having to…

  • Tourism News

    No confirmed date for resumption of Test & Go as Omicron infections spread

    The government currently has no plans to resume the Test & Go scheme, which allows vaccinated travellers from approved countries to enter Thailand with minimal quarantine. Travellers who have already been approved for the Thailand Pass through Test & Go must enter the country by January 10. After that, the only way in will be through the sandbox scheme, currently…

  • Asia

    Indonesia to roll out booster vaccine doses amid rise in Omicron cases

    Health officials in Indonesia will begin the rollout of booster vaccine doses as the Omicron variant spreads in the country. According to a Reuters report, the Indonesian health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says booster doses will be administered to the general public from January 12. Health workers in the country already received booster doses in July and the programme is…

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    School students could see return to online learning due to Omicron variant

    The Office of Basic Education Commission says schools could end up returning to online learning as a result of the highly-contagious Omicron variant. However, the commission says that decision will be left up to individual education areas and provinces. OBEC boss Amporn Pinasa says some schools may decide to move to online learning for a week after the New Year…

  • Phuket News

    Phuket health officials call for increased vigilance as island reports Omicron spike

    Health officials in Phuket are urging tourism operators to be more cautious and adhere strictly to disease prevention measures as Omicron cases rise. Koosak Kookiatkul from Phuket’s Public Health Office says businesses must avail of antigen tests regularly to screen for new infections. The Bangkok Post reports that the island has now detected 144 cases of the highly-contagious Omicron variant.…