Endemic status may come in July
WHO concerned over mutations of Covid
The Public Health Ministry aims to achieve its target of classifying Covid-19 as an endemic disease in July, according to Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha.
Delivering a speech on the government's Covid-19 policy at the annual meeting of the Private Hospital Association, Mr Sathit said if the criteria are met, the ministry should proceed to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease on July 1 as planned.
He said if and when this happens, mask-wearing regulations may be eased but that would also depend on the Covid-19 situation in each area.
However, Mr Sathit noted the World Health Organization has yet to announce when Covid-19 will be reclassified as endemic and has expressed concern about mutations of the virus.
In early March, the national communicable disease committee agreed tentatively with introducing the new designation in June.
Under the plan, the rate of infection was expected to stabilise in April before daily infections drop to 1,000-2,000 cases per day from the end of May onwards.
Mr Sathit also said the country had witnessed a downward trend in terms of the number of infections even if official numbers underestimated the overall daily caseload.
"It's not that we're concealing the number of cases but it is possible that some patients who test positive from antigen test kits don't report their infections," he said.
However, Dr Chalerm Harnpanich, president of the Private Hospital Association, warned that Covid-19 is still a highly dangerous and contagious disease, so procurement of medicines to treat the infections must be processed by the national healthcare fund while prescriptions of molnupiravir and paxlovid must also be in line with ministry guidelines.