Vaccine distant, so 'restrictions crucial'

Vaccine distant, so 'restrictions crucial'

A vaccine against the Covid-19 disease may be available early next year, said Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Dr Taweesilp warned the government will have to continue maintaining strict measures to combat the disease.

"It will take a long time before the pandemic eases and the country returns to normal," Dr Taweesilp said at a press conference marking one month since the enforcement of the emergency decree.

Issued on March 26, the decree which led to lockdown, curfews and other restrictions will expire at the end of this month.

However, it has been reported the government is expected to extend it beyond this month.

Dr Taweesilp said the only two measures that can end the disease are medicines for effective treatment, and a vaccine to prevent the virus right from the start.

Without both, he said the public will have to maintain healthy practices, wear face masks, wash their hands, and keep their distance until a vaccine against the virus become available "hopefully" next year.

Currently, there have been reports on the development of a vaccination reportedly by 70 research teams worldwide.

Dr Taweesilp said people will have to wait.

"According to the latest information, we may have to wait for the vaccine until early next year," he said.

"So, we now have to continue to adjust to the situation.

"We still cannot afford to lower our guard."

Meanwhile, the government yesterday reported 15 new cases, without fatality, bringing the total number of cases in Thailand since its outbreak in January to 2,922 cases and 51 deaths.

The number of new cases was a sharp drop from the 53 recorded on Saturday.

Of the new cases, four were linked to previous cases, another four had no known links, while five new patients are arrivals from overseas who have been under state quarantine.

Two other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala, where the authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there, said Dr Taweesilp.

Despite encouraging treatment figures, Dr Taweesilp warned that people cannot go back to the way they used to live before the outbreak.

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