Anutin wants Covid reclassified to let govt avoid paying for treatment

Anutin wants Covid reclassified to let govt avoid paying for treatment

Officials help Covid-19 vaccine recipients fill in forms before inoculation at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok on Sunday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Officials help Covid-19 vaccine recipients fill in forms before inoculation at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok on Sunday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

Ending the government's burden of paying for Covid-19 treatment is more important than declaring the disease endemic, so the health minister is proposing to reclassify it as a "disease under surveillance".

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday the Public Health Ministry wanted Covid-19 to be reclassified as a disease under surveillance instead of a dangerous communicable disease.

He said that with the redefinition of the disease, the government would not have to cover its treatment costs. As the Covid-19 situation improved and the severity of the disease declined, redefining it as a disease under surveillance would mean it could be covered by patients' conventional insurance schemes, he said.

"As the situation changes, the government doesn't want to take a financial burden. Covid-19 patients should resort to their own health insurance packages like for other diseases," Mr Anutin said.

Daily Covid cases had dropped below 5,000 and fatalities below 50, while 137 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered, he said.

The health minister had not set a timeframe for the Covid reclassification. He said it should at least wait for the assessment of the Covid-19 situation two weeks after the reopening of entertainment places on Wednesday.

The government has closed entertainment places for over two years to contain Covid-19.

Mr Anutin said that the National Committee on Communicable Diseases would consider the reclassification proposal and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration would make the final decision.

There were 30 diseases under surveillance including dengue haemorrhagic fever, malaria and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), he said.

Regarding the Public Health Ministry's previous plan to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease on July 1, Mr Anutin said that should wait for a relevant signal from the World Health Organization.

Compared with the government's financial burden of paying for people's Covid treatment, whether it was declared endemic or not would not matter, he said.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (24)

New Ukraine push

Putin is preparing a new offensive in Ukraine, at the same time steeling his country for a conflict with the US and its allies that he expects to last for years.

12:42

Myanmar junta plans poll with strict rules for political parties

Myanmar’s military government took an early step toward holding parliamentary elections, but it did so by imposing strict rules on political parties that may make fair balloting difficult.

11:14

Finance Ministry maintains growth outlook, expects more tourists

The Ministry of Finance has maintained its economic growth outlook for 2023 at 3.8%, buoyed by a rebound in tourism and domestic demand, but an official said exports would slow down this year.

10:48