Panel proposes quarantine cut to 10 days

Panel proposes quarantine cut to 10 days

Movement tracing in lieu of longer stay

A soldier from the Naresuan task force stands guard on the Thai side of the border with Myanmmar in tambon Tha Sai Luad, Mae Sot district, Tak province. The border patrol has been stepped up to prevent security threats and a possible spread of Covid-19 throughillegal crossings. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A soldier from the Naresuan task force stands guard on the Thai side of the border with Myanmmar in tambon Tha Sai Luad, Mae Sot district, Tak province. The border patrol has been stepped up to prevent security threats and a possible spread of Covid-19 throughillegal crossings. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

As the national communicable disease committee approves the national quarantine policy draft, its panel of health experts said they agree in principle with the proposal to reduce the mandatory quarantine period for returnees from 14 to 10 days.

Speaking after the committee's meeting on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the policy draft is intended to bolster long-term efforts to reopen the country to tourists and revive the pandemic-hit economy.

The policy draft was designed to ensure that Thailand has enough quarantine venues with rigorous health and safety standards to support the country's eventual reopening, the minister said.

It also sought to develop a streamlined approach to running quarantine facilities, so all facilities, both at the national and provincial levels, can work together effectively under the supervision of the national communicable diseases committee in Bangkok, he added.

The minister said the policy was also drawn up to expedite the development of an integrated data management system to support the work of all concerned agencies.

The draft also contains guidelines for managing a quarantine venue -- including the assignment of personnel and standards of services in common and/or other public areas.

"It covers the screening of suspected cases, general management of the venue's environment, provision of basic services, data collection and reporting, contact tracing, as well as venue assessment and evaluation criteria," Mr Anutin said.

The public health minister also said the committee's panel of specialists have agreed in principle with the proposal to cut the current 14-day quarantine period for returnees to 10 days.

In place of the 14-day quarantine, the Department of Disease Control will monitor returnees for another four days once they complete a 10-day quarantine, the proposal said.

Movement tracing will be carried out and returnees must adhere to social distancing rules, avoid crowded places and wear a face mask in public places.

The proposal will be presented to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for consideration, Mr Anutin said.

He said the Covid-19 situation in Thailand is under control, as most of the new infections are returnees.

''The priority now is to strike a balance between people's health and the economy. We have to work together to help revive the economy.

"Thailand still has to rely on foreign tourists. Reopening the country to foreign visitors will help put the economy back on track," Mr Anutin said.

Meanwhile, Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said on Thursday the 57-year-old French woman who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving an alternative state quarantine facility in Samut Prakan on Oct 15 did not contract the virus from the foreigners who stayed next to her room.

The sample she gave did not match those provided by the other patients, who tested positive on Oct 15 and Oct 19, he said.

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