Thailand ‘on hold’ as it waits to see what Omicron will do

File photo
File photo

“Important decisions” are coming Friday on whether bars and nightlife venues may reopen, but with the daily caseload jumping by 25% overnight, revelers shouldn’t hold their breaths.

In another sign of the uncertainty of the days ahead, health officials today said they want the rest of January to monitor things before considering next steps, such as relaxing or stiffening travel restrictions. However, the public should expect “important decisions” when the COVID-19 task force convenes Friday, disease control spokesperson Sumanee Wacharasin said early this afternoon.

While no official decision has been made on the suspension of new travel under the so-called Test & Go scheme, all signs point to it remaining in place for now. 

Today saw 3,899 new infections, a marked increase over Tuesday’s 3,091, and a reversal of the slide that had been ongoing since August’s peak. Chonburi and Bangkok are the worst-hit.

As of yesterday, random sampling of nearly two month’s worth of cases found Omicron accounted for 21%. The variant was detected in 55 provinces.

Omicron cases are expected to explode in the coming days, especially after the New Year holiday travel period. But all eyes are on the impact it will have on the health care system. 

Today there were 34,877 people hospitalized with the disease; yesterday it was 33,505. 

Initial data from outside the realm suggests it brings a less severe version of the disease that results in fewer hospitalizations.

That’s left hope smoldering that the storm will pass, and the great reopening of the kingdom to travelers – and their disposable incomes – may resume.

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