Thailand will downgrade Covid-19 from a “dangerous” communicable disease to one that “needs monitoring” starting from October, as the country’s virus situation has started to stabilise, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
The move, which will remove Covid-19 from the same category as plague and smallpox to the same level as influenza and dengue, is to reflect the reality of the situation in the country, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
The move reflects Thailand’s health-system readiness, availability of treatments and “appropriate self-protection behaviour” of people around the country, Mr Anutin said in a statement. The government will also adjust the country’s post-pandemic management plan to allow private hospitals to start directly procuring antiviral drugs “soon”, rather than going through government channels, he said.
Authorities said last week that the country should start seeing a decline in severe Covid-19 cases and deaths by mid-August. The government on July 1 lifted virtually all travel restrictions and an outdoor mask mandate.