Ministry To Propose Relaxation Of COVID-19 Curbs

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong Speaks
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong.

The Public Health Ministry is preparing to propose a relaxation of measures to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) this week, to encourage people to live with the coronavirus as opposed to imposing lockdowns during outbreaks.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the ministry’s Department of Disease Control (DDC), would not go into detail about the measures to be eased. However, he said Thailand was moving in line with trends elsewhere.

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“The global situation of COVID-19 seems to be moving in the same direction. Many countries have started to ease measures despite spikes in daily infections,” he said.

The ministry believes Thailand should no longer impose lockdowns as people need to learn to cope with COVID-19, which will reach an endemic stage soon, Dr Karnkawinpong said.

Given the situation in Thailand, the number of new daily cases is still considered safe, he said.

Despite the high transmission rate of the Omicron variant, its effects are less severe than those of Delta, he said.

“We need to get people to understand that the number of daily new cases is nothing to worry about,” he said.

“We’ve lived with the disease for two years already, so it’s about time to move on together.”

On Sunday, Thailand logged 10,879 new cases, including 178 imported ones, and 20 new deaths.

It also logged 8,285 patients being discharged from hospitals and 91,037 others still being treated.

Bangkok again recorded the most daily new cases with 1,470, followed by Samut Prakan (1,282), Chon Buri (556), Nonthaburi (439), Phuket (415) and Samut Sakhon (285).

The home isolation measure for patients with mild symptoms has proved effective in keeping hospital beds reserved for patients showing more severe symptoms of the disease, Dr Karnkawinpong said.

The most recent deaths were attributed to people considered at high risk of contracting the disease, such as people aged 60 years or older, people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women all of whom have not yet received a booster shot, he said.

He said parents should also consider bringing their child in to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, despite the general trend towards easing curbs, Maha Sarakham has announced the prohibition of dining activities, including weddings, meetings, ordinations and funerals, which became effective on Saturday.

Violators are liable to imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht under the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations, in addition to a fine of up to 20,000 baht.

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