Delta variant likely to be dominant
The Medical Sciences Department (MSD) on Wednesday warned that the Delta variant of Covid-19 first identified in India may become a dominant strain in the country during the next two to three months because of the increased number of infections with this variant.
The warning was issued by MSD director-general Supakit Sirirak who asked the public to comply with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 disease and get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Speaking during a press briefing, Dr Supakit said the MSD was concerned over an increased number of infections with the Delta variant of Covid-19, saying 137 more Covid-19 patients with this variant have been detected this week in nine more provinces, except in the South.
Of them, 86 Covid-19 patients with this strain were detected in Bangkok, followed by 28 cases in Pathum Thani, eight in Nakhon Nayok, three in Sakon Nakhon, two in Phayao and Ubon Ratchathani, and one each in Chiang Rai, Phetchabun, Chon Buri, Chantaburi, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Loei and Buri Ram, he said.
However since testing for this variant began earlier this month, a total of 496 Covid-19 patients with this variant were found in 20 provinces. Bangkok alone had 404 cases, he said.
Dr Supakit said the Alpha variant of Covid-19 first identified in the United Kingdom was still the country's major variant, with 89.6% of all infections.
"We see that there is a sign of increasing infections with the new variant (Delta) that is now under the globe's top concerns due to its 40% faster rate of infections, compared with the Alpha variant," he said.
"The lab results show infections this week climbed up to 9%, compared with 8% last week.
"So, we need to follow the (Delta variant) cases closely and carefully. If the number of infections keeps going high, we will need to take some action against the cases, including a policy around the length of time for getting a second shot.
"We are now in the process to test the level of body immunity after getting the vaccine for backing up the decision."
Dr Supakit went on to say that most infected people were closely associated with workers living in construction site camps, where the first Delta variant case was detected in the country.These people moved from one place to another while carrying the virus.
Apart from construction site camps, he said the MSD detected 10 Covid-19 patients with this Delta variant at three hospitals in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, two more new Covid-19 patients with the Beta variant first identified in South Africa were found in Narathiwat this week. But from April to June, the MSD found 26 cases with the Beta variant in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat, he said.
- Delta variant