About 15 provinces are aiming to be among the first to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease but they can’t do so until they are approved by the Ministry of Public Health’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), said Dr Suthep Petchmak, inspector-general of the ministry.
Dr Suthep said he was informed by permanent-secretary for public health Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit that 15 provinces are ready for the new disease status. He said the Department of Disease Control has finished drafting the criteria for that status but the provinces ready for approval haven’t been discussed yet by the EOC. He did not say when the EOC will meet to discuss the matter.
He didn’t name the 15, but disclosed that Songkhla is among them. The southern province is ready to declare Covid-19 as endemic because 80% of its population has received a Covid-19 jab and 30% has received boosters.
According to the National Communicable Disease Committee, endemic status can be given to provinces with less than 10,000 new cases per day, and where the fatality rate does not exceed 0.1%. Another stipulation is that more than 80% of those at-risk have received coronavirus vaccine doses. Dr Suthep said if no new coronavirus variant emerges, he is confident Covid-19 will be declared an endemic disease by July 1.
Meanwhile, Suvarnabhumi airport director Kittipong Kittikachorn said the airport will discuss with other agencies about expanding its capacity to receive more international visitors.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has eased health restrictions. From May 1, international arrivals are likely to increase and the airport wants to ease overcrowding, Mr Kittipong said.
The country registered 17,784 more Covid-19 cases and 126 new fatalities during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Sunday.