Lockdown 'unlikely', says PM

Lockdown 'unlikely', says PM

New arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport are directed to a health screening area by officers on Tuesday. The country reported its first case of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron this week. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
New arrivals at Suvarnabhumi airport are directed to a health screening area by officers on Tuesday. The country reported its first case of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron this week. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Another Covid-19 lockdown is unlikely despite the Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday.

"Hopefully, this coming New Year will be a happy time. We haven't had that festive happiness for two years because of Covid-19,"  Prayut said, after the first case of the new strain was confirmed in the kingdom on Monday from a visiting American citizen.

"After all everything now depends on how effective the Covid Free Setting and other measures are. If there is no new spread of the virus, who would ever close or lock down [activities] again? No one would," the prime minister said.

"As of now, the requirement that international visitors undergo an RT-PCR Covid-19 test upon arriving in the kingdom is seen by health authorities as sufficient to detect the new variant and prevent it from spreading here," he added.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the current vaccination campaign must be ramped up to keep people's immunity at a high level.

People who received their second vaccination shots in August are urged to get a booster.

All 17 people who came in close contact with Thailand's first Omicron case at the hotel of the American tourist have tested negative for Covid-19, the Department of Disease Control reported on Tuesday.

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Vocabulary

  • booster (noun): something that gives extra strength - สิ่งที่เพิ่มกำลังหรือความแข็งแรง
  • campaign: a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim - การรณรงค์
  • citizen: someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country - พลเมือง 
  • contact (noun): a situation in which people or things touch each other or come very close to each other - การสัมผัส
  • detect: to notice, to discover or find out - พบได้, สังเกต
  • festive: connected with a festival or celebration - รื่นเริง, เกี่ยวกับเทศกาล
  • immunity: protected from a disease naturally by the body - ภูมิคุ้มกันโรค, ภูมิต้านทานโรค
  • lockdown (noun): an official order to control the movement of people or vehicles because of a dangerous situation -
  • ramped up: increased in amount or strength; made larger; scaled up - ยกระดับ; เสริม
  • strain: a particular type of virus, animal, insect, or plant  - สายพันธุ์
  • sufficient: enough - เพียงพอ
  • test negative: to show no signs of being infected by a particular virus, bacteria, etc. - ตรวจพบว่าไม่ติดเชื้อ
  • unlikely: not expected to happen; probably won’t happen - ที่ไม่น่าจะเกิดขึ้น
  • variant: a thing that is a slightly different form or type of something else - สิ่งที่ผันแปร, สิ่งที่แตกต่างกัน
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