Govt decides not to raise alert for monkeypox

Govt decides not to raise alert for monkeypox

A nurse wearing protective gear stands at the entrance of an isolation ward for monkeypox patients at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India, on Monday. Thailand has decided not to raise the alert level for the disease. (AFP photo)
A nurse wearing protective gear stands at the entrance of an isolation ward for monkeypox patients at a government hospital in Hyderabad, India, on Monday. Thailand has decided not to raise the alert level for the disease. (AFP photo)

The government decided on Monday not to declare monkeypox another serious communicable disease as health authorities remain confident they can contain the virus.

Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, director of the epidemiology division at the Department of Disease Control, said increasing surveillance measures on the disease nationwide would be sufficient.

The nature of monkeypox does not yet fit the definition of the Communicable Disease Act, the official added.

"Serious communicable diseases must have severe symptoms and be spread easily and quickly," Dr Chakrarat said after the meeting of the academic committee to seek opinions on its status.

Dr Chakrarat said the experts in the meeting were confident in the health system and personnel, and believed could manage monkeypox.

Thailand announced the first monkeypox patient on Thursday. The case was a Nigerian, 27, in Phuket. The patient, 27, is under treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh after he illegally crossed the border from Thailand to Cambodia on Friday and was arrested in the Cambodian capital the next day.

O Vandin, the Secretary of State and spokeswoman for the Cambodian Health Ministry, said the patient was in good health and no infections were detected in five people who had been close to him during his escape, the Khmer Times reported on Monday.

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared monkeypox as "A Public Health Emergency of International Concern" and urged member countries to find effective coping methods that do not stigmatise target groups.

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