Capital ready for Omicron
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Capital ready for Omicron

Screening beefed up for foreign visitors

Staff of state-run Transport Co disinfect the Bangkok Bus Terminal in a bid to control Covid-19 last Wednesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Staff of state-run Transport Co disinfect the Bangkok Bus Terminal in a bid to control Covid-19 last Wednesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has field hospitals and health facilities ready to deal with whatever situations may arise from the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus, according to Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang.

Pol Gen Aswin said on Friday on his Facebook page that all countries around the world are combatting the Omicron variant over concerns about its faster transmission.

In response, the BMA and related agencies have beefed up screening processes for foreign visitors to detect the virus, especially those from at-risk countries.

The BMA is ensuring its readiness to operate isolation centres and field hospitals by making sure there is an adequate number of beds and sufficient supplies of medication and medical equipment.

Most BMA health workers have had a third vaccine dose and are regularly checked with antigen test kits while they strictly comply with universal prevention measures, Pol Gen Aswin said.

Thailand's first Omicron infection case was a 35-year-old American businessman who tested positive after travelling from Spain and Dubai.

There has been no confirmed report of a fatality or severe illness from the new variant.

The BMA's Health Department on Thursday worked with Bang Rak District Office to investigate the disease in the district's two hotels where the infected man had visited.

Officials collected samples from at-risk groups and also suggested prevention guidance for hotel staff.

In addition, active case finding was also conducted around Soi Santi Phap and Puttha Osot, as well as SO/Bangkok Hotel staff on Sathon Nuea Road.

On Wednesday, 35 hotel staff -- 32 Thais and three migrant workers -- of the Quarter Hotel Silom underwent an RT-PCR test, according to the Bang Rak District Office Facebook.

Omicron infections were reported in Singapore and Lebanon on Thursday and Cuba on Wednesday, bringing the total countries with confirmed new variant cases to 62, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

From Dec 1-9, the CCSA reported that 62,070 foreign visitors had entered the kingdom via air, with 102 infections reported.

Since the reopening of the country, there have been 273 infection cases found among 195,131 foreign visitors.

In addition, there were 59 infected that were detected under the quarantine-free tourism scheme, a system also known as "Test & Go".

On Friday, the country logged 4,193 new Covid-19 cases, with 7,863 patients having recovered and 56,717 still being treated, the CCSA reported.

Of the figure, 4,087 were detected by hospitals, 56 from active case findings, 21 from prisons and 29 were imported cases.

Bangkok has the most cases overall with 629, followed by Nakhon Si Thammarat (460), Songkhla (213), Chon Buri (175), Samut Prakan (155), Pattani (143), Surat Thani (125), Yala (102), Lamphun (102) and finally Chiang Mai (90).

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