Health ministry clarifies ATK tests only for high-risk and symptomatic students

Health ministry clarifies ATK tests only for high-risk and symptomatic students

School staff clean and disinfect a classroom at a school in Din Daeng area, Bangkok. (File photo: Bangkok Post)
School staff clean and disinfect a classroom at a school in Din Daeng area, Bangkok. (File photo: Bangkok Post)

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that antigen tests for Covid-19 are not required for students returning to school for the new semester but should be administered to children considered high risk or showing mild symptoms.

Public health permanent secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Monday that while the daily cases are on a downward trend, the risk of contracting the coronavirus remains high. 

The reopening of most schools for the new semester is Tuesday, following a four-day holiday during which many families may have travelled, he said.

With the Omicron coronavirus variant having a higher rate of asymptomatic transmission, people taking less precautions could lead to more Covid clusters. unintended spreading of the virus. Guardians and school faculty should assess their risk and undertake ATK tests if needed, he said.

The public health official insisted that there is no mandate requiring students to take ATK tests when they return to school or every three to five days. Screenings are only required when there are students with high risk of Covid-19 infection or showing mild symptoms.

The ministry has urged children aged 12 to 17 to receive booster shots of Covid-19 vaccine while those between 5 and 11 should be fully vaccinated before returning to on-site studies.

Educational institutions that detect an infection will not be required to fully shutdown as before, but they must follow a response plan as specified by health authorities.


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