Nation 'ready' for Deltacron
The public health minister says Thailand is prepared to deal with any new variant of the coronavirus including the newly emerged Deltacron that is now being closely watched by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Anutin Charnvirakul, deputy prime minister and public health minister, said his ministry has prepared the necessary medical tools, vaccines and drugs to ensure it can fight the virus no matter how it may mutate.
Mr Anutin said he believed the government's Covid-19 preventive measures -- social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing and so on -- are still effective.
"We are not worried about any new strains as long as our people have strictly followed the ministry's guidelines and have not lowered their guard in preventing infection," he said.
Deltacron was first reported earlier this year when it was thought to be a co-infection of the Omicron and Delta variants. On Wednesday, the WHO started tracking Deltacron, but has yet to designate it as a variant of concern -- nor has it officially named it.
Researchers believe it is a single, hybrid variant that combines genes from Delta and Omicron.
The minister made his comments during the Thailand International Health EXPO 2022 organised by the Department of Health Service Support, which he presided over on Thursday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, delivered a speech virtually at the event that included a nod to Thailand's successful management of the pandemic.
Mr Tedros said the WHO continues its strong support for vaccine distribution to poor countries, especially those in Africa.
He confirmed the WHO's goal of having at least 70% of the population in all countries vaccinated. "By achieving this goal, we could end the game faster," he said.
Mr Tedros said that technology transfers for vaccine production are still needed.