Covid to be downgraded from Oct 1

Covid to be downgraded from Oct 1

3m Pfizer doses for young kids en route

Health professionals wait for Covid-19 vaccine recipients at the Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Health professionals wait for Covid-19 vaccine recipients at the Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok last month. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The government is ready to announce the downgrade of Covid-19 from a dangerous communicable disease to one that is "communicable under surveillance" from Oct 1, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

Mr Anutin was speaking on Wednesday after meeting senior Public Health Ministry officials and said the Covid-19 situation now appears suitable for regrading.

The number of patients who need oxygen supplies had dropped to 300 as of Wednesday while most fatalities involve those with underlying health conditions, he said.

Mr Anutin said the government is still covering the expenses of patients who have mild and severe symptoms.

Hospitals are prepared to receive those from vulnerable groups while Long Acting Antibody (LAAB) doses have been distributed to hospitals and medical centres nationwide for senior citizens and people with underlying conditions, especially kidney patients.

"I would like to emphasise that those who have not yet received booster shots should do so to alleviate the severity of their symptoms. Now vaccines in Thailand are available for people of all age groups," said Mr Anutin. When asked about face masks, he said they are not mandatory but are recommended in crowded places.

Meanwhile, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, has signed a contract with Deborah Seifert, country manager of Pfizer Thailand, to purchase three million doses of Pfizer for children aged between six months and five years. Mr Anutin said the company will deliver the first few batches next month.

Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital Mahidol University, said the vaccines can also safeguard young children from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

MIS-C is among the conditions associated with Covid-19. It has been detected in one of 10,000 child patients on average. Children can develop MIS-C two to six weeks after recovering from Covid-19, with symptoms such as high fever, acute diarrhoea and inflammation of the organs.

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