Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has set a new target to prepare the country for a future with COVID-19, according to sources at Government House.
Chairing a meeting of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday, Gen Chan-o-cha proposed a shift in the country’s COVID-19 management strategy so people can “learn to live safely with COVID-19”, in recognition of the ever-changing nature of the virus which may never be fully eliminated from society, the sources said.
In light of this, the CCSA is targeting to strike a balance between COVID-19 control measures and allowing people to go about their normal lives and economic activities, according to the sources.
The prime example of this approach is the Phuket Sandbox scheme which started on 1st July, followed by the Samui Plus model on 15th July.
They form the backbone of plans to restart the battered tourism industry and reopen the country under DMHTT guidelines, referring to social distancing, mask-wearing, hand-washing, temperature-checking and using the Thai Chana app.
Gen Chan-o-cha also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to promoting research and development of domestic vaccines under the government’s public health development strategy so that Thailand can be self-sufficient in terms of vaccine production, the sources said.
The development of a local mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as ChulaCOV-19, by a research team at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, meanwhile, holds some hope for Thailand.
The team recently announced the vaccine’s success in its first phase of human trials and expects to seek registration for emergency use in April next year, the sources said, quoting Gen Chan-o-cha as saying that the government will expedite disbursement of funding to support such projects.