The Delta variant, first identified in India, accounts for 52% of COVID-19 patients in Bangkok with a virus expert expecting it to replace the Alpha variant, first detected in the UK, as the dominant strain in the country by the end of the month.
On Monday, Dr Supakit Sirilak, the chief of the Department of Medical Sciences, said that about 32% of COVID-19 cases across the country in the past week were linked to the Delta variant with most diagnosed in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
In Bangkok alone, 52% of COVID-19 cases were found to be the Delta variant and the strain has already been found in 47 provinces including in the southern region. The prevalence of the Delta variant in the country is slightly faster than predicted, according to Dr Sirilak.
“In Bangkok, the Delta variant is found in every district, mostly northern Bangkok. So, it can be said the Delta variant is currently spreading in the city,” he said.
The Delta variant was first detected in April at a construction site in Laksi district in Bangkok.
Dr Sirilak said the number of infections linked to the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa, rose by 50 cases in the past week. The strain is still limited to the southern province of Narathiwat even though Beta infections have been confirmed in Surat Thani (1), Nakhon Si Thammarat (3), and Krabi (1).
He said two additional Beta variant infections were reported in Bangkok but they are contacts of the patients in Narathiwat.
Meanwhile, virus expert Yong Poovorawan posted on his Facebook that the Delta variant will soon replace the Alpha variant as the predominant strain in Thailand.
Dr Poovorawan, director of Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, wrote that a study is needed to find out what regimens will trigger stronger immune responses as the virus mutations continue.
Meanwhile, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department of Disease Control, said that there will be 10 million doses of vaccine administered by the government this month with senior citizens a priority.
Dr Karnkawinpong said that 70% of the 1.8 million senior citizens in Bangkok will get their vaccines in the next two weeks while the remaining 17.85 million elderly Thais across the country will receive their first inoculations by the end of the month.