‘Time to move on’: ThaiGov to relax measures despite rapid spread

Photo: Suvarnabhumi International Airport / Facebook
Photo: Suvarnabhumi International Airport / Facebook

Health experts this morning said it’s “time to move on” and lift more restrictions as new daily cases COVID-19 crossed above 10,000 again over the weekend and more hospital beds filled.

Omicron’s lesser toll means that yesterday’s year-to-date peak of 10,879 new cases doesn’t mean much, the COVID-19 task force said, and the public should expect the rules to be further relaxed later this week.

“We need to get people to understand that the number of daily new cases is nothing to worry about,” disease control chief Opas Karnkawinpong said. “We’ve lived with the disease for two years already, so it’s about time to move on together.”

Omicron’s rapid spread still poses a threat to the medical system, however. Hospitalizations rose to nearly 93,000 this morning, a 10% increase over 10 days.

Officials said Thailand would look to the path taken by other nations in normalizing the disease, which they expect this year to declare endemic, meaning it is not going anywhere.

“In almost every country, the number of [Omicron] cases has increased exponentially,” virologist Yong Poovorawan wrote on Facebook Monday morning. “At the same time, the mortality rate or the severity of the disease did not increase.”

Though only 12 deaths were reported this morning, the fatality rate has fluctuated between the high teens and low 20s since the start of the year.

“Regardless of the situation, life must go on, we must be able to live economically and socially,” Yong added. “Epidemic control lies in people exercising discipline; we must all help each other to minimize the outbreak.”

Moreover, the country’s free mass vaccination scheme expands today to children 5 to 11,with priority given to those who at higher risk such as children with diabetes.

In the past week, schools were one of three clusters responsible for the leap in cases, the task force said last week.

“Students must go to school with discipline,” said Yong, a widely followed commentator. “Infections in children are very dangerous as they could bring the infection to the elderly in their houses. Therefore, everyone in the house must have to strengthen immunity whether via vaccines or risk group protection especially among elderly with chronic medical conditions.”

Monday morning saw a total of 10,470 confirmed cases.

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