Mass tests to decide virus curb easing

Mass tests to decide virus curb easing

Samut Sakhon to test 8,000 a day

Dr Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, is in a press conference at Government House on Thursday. (Screenshot)
Dr Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, is in a press conference at Government House on Thursday. (Screenshot)

Health officials in Samut Sakhon will launch mass Covid-19 antibody testing next week, targeting about 8,000 people a day, as the authorities prepare to consider easing Covid-19 restrictions.

Dr Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said the antibody testing will be provided for those who previously tested negative for the virus.

She said officials plan to test about 8,000 people per day and if the testing shows these people have developed antibodies, the CCSA will review the current restrictions and consider easing some of them.

The change in Covid-19 testing strategy has been adopted after the province, which is the epicentre of the new virus outbreak, tested more than 100,000 factory workers. The province used the "seal and bubble" measure to curb the spread of infections among migrant workers.

The "seal" method is applied to factories with on-site accommodation. Under the method, workers are not be allowed to leave the premises.

Meanwhile, the "bubble" strategy is applied to factories without on-site accommodations. The strategy requires workers to stay in their dormitories.

Workers in good health are isolated from the general population to ensure the disease does not spread.

Health officials are waiting for these workers to develop herd immunity.

The Covid-19 antibody testing will determine if restrictions should be eased and these workers will be allowed to resume their normal activities.

From Dec 26 last year to Feb 8, health officials conducted Covid-19 tests in 1,048 locations out of 1,880 target locations, including 97 large factories each with over 500 workers.

As of midnight on Feb 10, provincial public health officials in Samut Sakhon reported 129 new Covid-19 cases, down from 132 cases the previous day. Of the new cases, 73 were from active case finding and 56 were those who checked in at hospitals.

Samut Sakhon has registered a total of 15,476 cases and six deaths.

Meanwhile, Tak authorities on Thursday imposed a lockdown on a community in Mae Sot district until Feb 17, after new cases were confirmed among them. It also ordered the closure of a warehouse complex next to the Moei River for seven days after 30 people who live and work nearby tested positive for Covid-19.

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