Thailand Pass, ATK tests may be scrapped if Covid slows: Anutin

Thailand Pass, ATK tests may be scrapped if Covid slows: Anutin

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul attends a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul attends a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Public Health Ministry looks set to propose that mandatory antigen tests and Thailand Pass registration be cancelled if the latest easing of entry restrictions does not lead to a rise in Covid-19 infections after the measures take effect from May 1.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday the Covid-19 situation in the country showed signs of improving 10 days after the Songkran festival. The number of infections, the number of seriously ill patients dependent on ventilators and use of anti-virus pills has significantly declined.

He said people would like to see restrictions relaxed as much as possible along with a need to feel confident the disease will not pose any harm to their life.

Infections were possible even after a booster shot, but 90% of those were asymptomatic.

“We no longer have Test and Go and what we have now is the ATK test. After two weeks, we may propose to eliminate both the ATK test and Thailand Pass to enter the country. We think we can do that if people come to get booster doses, especially elderly people,” Mr Anutin said.

The minister further said that the ministry is going to identify the distinction between deaths directly caused by Covid-19 and deaths that occur concurrently with the disease. Initial information indicates the latter is greater than former. According to the Department of Disease Control (DDC), just 30% of deaths among Covid-19 patients are directly caused by the coronavirus disease.

It's also clear, he said, that 90% of Covid deaths are among non-vaccinated people. Clearly identifying the cause of death will provide more accurate information about the disease.

He insisted that an announcement to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease must be done countrywide, not just in some provinces, with the same standards applied everywhere.

Meanwhile, DDC chief Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said 12 provinces have significantly declining infection rates. But the disease may surge if new, highly infectious variants emerge. 

He also said that the department is going to speed up vaccinations for students. 

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