Covid-19 strains spur fears

A test tube labelled
A test tube labelled "Covid-19 Test positive" is seen in this illustration picture. (Reuters photo)

The government is monitoring two new Omicron subvariants in Europe as Thailand prepares for an influx of international arrivals from next month when entry rules are eased further.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the Public Health Ministry will monitor the Covid-19 situation in Europe after cases of the two subvariants -- BA.4 and BA.5 -- were detected in countries such as Portugal, the UK, Austria, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

State agencies have also been instructed to plan ahead to deal with the expected surge in foreign arrivals after the Thailand Pass registration requirement is revoked on July 1, the spokesman said.

The Department of Medical Sciences (DMSC) said people should not jump to conclusions about the new subvariants, to avoid causing public panic.

The DMSC is studying the variants to learn more about them.

Health authorities have collected samples of the subvariants, though it may take up to five weeks to determine how they differ from previous strains.

According to the Centre for Medical Genomics at Ramathibodi Hospital, Thailand has recorded 49 new cases of the two new Omicron subvariants, which are considered more contagious.

The head of the centre previously said 26 cases of BA.5, 23 cases of BA.4 and 18 cases of BA.2.12.1 had been detected in the kingdom since April.

"Omicron is not the last variant of Covid-19," he said.

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  • contagious: of a disease that can be caught by touching someone with the disease or a piece of infected clothing - ซึ่งแพร่กระจายได้ง่าย
  • differ (verb): to be different from somebody/something - แตกต่างจาก,ผิดกัน
  • influx: a large number of people or things coming in to a place - การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า  (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
  • jump to conclusions: to quickly decide about something without carefully considering the facts - ด่วนตัดสินใจ, รีบตัดสินใจเร็วเกินไป
  • panic: a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly - ความตื่นตกใจ
  • revoke: to officially say that something is no longer legal - เพิกถอน
  • spur: to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 
  • strain: a particular type of virus, animal, insect, or plant  - สายพันธุ์
  • sub-: a smaller part of a bigger thing or group -
  • surge: a sudden increase in something - การเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • variant: a thing that is a slightly different form or type of something else - สิ่งที่ผันแปร, สิ่งที่แตกต่างกัน
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