The Public Health Ministry intends to make Covid-19 endemic this year because the current wave shows mild symptoms and people have cooperated with the vaccination drive.
Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health, on Monday voiced the ministry's plan, saying the new wave driven by the Omicron coronavirus variant spread fast but caused mild symptoms and low fatalities. Under the circumstance, the ministry should take action to make the disease endemic.
"The disease naturally reduces its severity by its own and everyone in Thailand is cooperating with the vaccination drive.
"Consequently the disease can do no harm. Besides, there are effective operations for treatment and the slowdown of outbreaks. These will make it possible for the disease to become endemic," he said.
The ministry's strategy for Covid-19 in 2022 was to slow down outbreaks because fast outbreaks could otherwise overload heath systems and cause further mutation, he said.
Dr Kiattiphum also said the ministry had enough effective Covid-19 vaccines to realise the strategy.
Besides, he said, mild symptoms made it possible for those infected to be placed in home isolation and fully recover. The ministry had medicine and medical supplies to support home isolation and was ready to quickly admit people who developed severe symptoms to hospitals nationwide.
"When the disease becomes endemic, business and activities can quickly be restored," Dr Kiattiphum said.
He encouraged people to do universal prevention, receive vaccination and undergo antigen tests when they are at risk, while business operators have to ensure Covid-free setting and conduct antigen tests to help make Covid-19 become endemic.