PM assesses Omicron options

PM assesses Omicron options

People wait to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the Central Vaccination Centre at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok last Friday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
People wait to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the Central Vaccination Centre at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok last Friday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Another forced lockdown may be necessary if the latest Covid-19 variant is detected in Thailand.

Should the variant be detected, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will then make a decision regarding lockdown.

However, the new strain has not been found in Thailand yet, according to health authorities.

Speaking after Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the cabinet instructed relevant agencies to monitor the situation closely while the Public Health Ministry considers the country's reopening in two weeks' time.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha urged the public not to panic, saying the prime minister has ordered security agencies to intensify border surveillance to prevent illegal crossings to help keep the virus at bay.

Mr Sathit stressed that officials who are found to be negligent of their duty will face severe punishment.

He told the Bangkok Post that the cabinet did not discuss a lockdown but did consider tougher measures to detect the virus.

The government was concerned about illegal migrants sneaking into the country via natural border crossings, Mr Sathit added.

"The situation will be monitored closely. Measures will be reviewed based on new information coming in. If the Omicron strain is found in Thailand, the country will have to face another lockdown," Mr Sathit said. "It is the prime minister's policy and he will make a quick decision as director of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration."

Mr Sathit also said that nightlife venues may be allowed to reopen on Jan 16 if the Omicron strain is not detected, though he stressed the need to continue following DMHTT guidelines, referring to social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, temperature checking and using the Thai Chana app.


  • assess (verb): to carefully consider a situation, person, or problem in order to make a judgment - ประเมิณ, ประเมิณสถานการณ์
  • at bay: under control ควบคุมไว้ได้ - ควบคุมไว้ได้
  • guidelines: official instructions or advice about how to do something - สิ่งที่ช่วยแนะแนวทางให้ปฏิบัติ
  • intensify (verb): to increase in degree or strength - ทำให้แรงขึ้น, ทำให้หนาแน่นขึ้น
  • monitor: to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening - ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
  • negligent: not being careful or giving enough attention to people or things that are your responsibility - ละเลย,ไม่สนใจ
  • relevant: directly connected and important to what is being discussed or considered - ที่เกี่ยวข้อง
  • strain: a particular type of virus, animal, insect, or plant  - สายพันธุ์
  • stress: to emphasise something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important - เน้น
  • variant: a thing that is a slightly different form or type of something else - สิ่งที่ผันแปร, สิ่งที่แตกต่างกัน
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