Health Ministry wants to cut quarantine period

Health Ministry wants to cut quarantine period

Experts explain various scenarios associated with the spread of Covid-19 at a Public Health Ministry briefing on Wednesday. Pornprom Satrabhaya
Experts explain various scenarios associated with the spread of Covid-19 at a Public Health Ministry briefing on Wednesday. Pornprom Satrabhaya

The Public Health Ministry has proposed that the mandatory quarantine period for tourists be reduced from 14 to 10 days and will soon ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to alter the requirement accordingly.

Permanent secretary for Public Health Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Wednesday he was confident that a second wave of Covid-19 in Thailand would not be as bad as the first, thanks to the country's comprehensive preventative measures, particularly related to the wearing of face masks in public.

If Thailand did, however, face a worse second wave of the virus, it would be able to control the spread within one month, he said. The ministry envisages the following three scenarios:

1) The country has one or two local transmissions and the government controls the virus from spreading.

2) The virus spreads to a small group of 10 to 20 people after the first infection. Whatever the number, it would be controlled from spreading further within three to four weeks.

3) The least favourable scenario sees the first case spreading to 100 to 200 people, as did the cluster infection at Bangkok's Lumpinee boxing stadium in March. This worst-case scenario is considered unlikely if people continue to cooperate by wearing masks, practising social distancing and washing their hands frequently, said the ministry.

The permanent secretary said a key recommendation was that people in Thailand continue wearing masks to effectively prevent the virus from spreading.

Regarding the government's Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme, the ministry has assigned 12 Alternative Local State Quarantine facilities in the four provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani, Buri Ram and Chon Buri, plus a further 84 Alternative State Quarantine facilities in preparation for the country's reopening.

Director-general of the Department of Medical Services Somsak Akksilp said about 2,000 beds were available across the country for Covid-19 patients. Bangkok has the capacity to treat around 230 to 400 patients per day and the rest of the country 1,000-1,700 patients per day.

Dr Somsak confirmed that Thailand has sufficient medicine and medical equipment to treat Covid-19 patients and the country was in the process of producing its own anti-flu drug Favipiravir.

The anti-viral medication has shown signs of reducing symptoms in Covid-19 patients.

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