Outbreak 'likely' if public drops guard

Outbreak 'likely' if public drops guard

Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department
Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department

Thailand is likely to report new cases of local Covid-19 transmission as the global pandemic continues, but the likelihood of a large-scale outbreak in Thailand can be reduced if the public keeps up their guard, the Ministry of Public Health said on Monday.

The warning was relayed at the ministry's daily press briefing about the country's Covid-19 infections tally by the chief of the Department of Disease Control chief Tanarak Plipat.

Dr Tanarak noted on Monday that since Thailand has not reported any local transmission in more than 70 days, people are beginning to lower their guard against the virus.

He went on to use the example of Vietnam, which had been widely touted as a pandemic success story until the number of locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus disease suddenly spiked.

"We've been keeping a close watch on the situation in Vietnam after local infections were reported again. Until now, the origin of the outbreak has yet to be confirmed," Dr Tanarak said.

"Thailand is likely to be in the same boat as Vietnam. We will find locally transmitted cases, but there might not be an [large-scale] outbreak if all stakeholders come together and help prevent a second wave," he said.

Dr Tanarak said a large-scale outbreak can be prevented or brought under control if public health officials are quick to carry out comprehensive contact tracing and enforce strict quarantine regulations.

Most importantly, he said that people should not panic if a locally transmitted case is discovered.

"Individuals should ramp up preventative measures and do what they did when the first wave happened back in March," Dr Tanarak said.

"The most effective way to control the disease is self-prevention. And even if we have a vaccine, we must not lower our guard. Vaccines are the way to prevent the disease, but the virus will still exist," he added.

There are currently seven vaccines which are currently in the third phase of human testing -- one of which may be ready within the next six months, he said.

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