Almost back to normal, says Health Ministry

Almost back to normal, says Health Ministry

People prepare offerings for Chinese gods at a shrine in Samut Prakan province on Saturday, for the annual vegetarian festival. Health authorities say the country is almost back to normal after weathering the Covid-19 storm. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
People prepare offerings for Chinese gods at a shrine in Samut Prakan province on Saturday, for the annual vegetarian festival. Health authorities say the country is almost back to normal after weathering the Covid-19 storm. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Public Health Ministry sees the country as almost back to pre-Covid-19 and with adequate health resources to handle any future outbreaks, which are expected to be in the form of small and seasonal waves similar to influenza.

"The Covid-19 situation in Thailand and throughout the world is almost back to normal. There are very low numbers of new cases and fatalities. The overall situation is very safe," Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday.

"More than 92% of people [in Thailand] have developed antibodies from the 143.16 million vaccine doses administered and others have antibodies from their own infection. In September, the number of infected cases, inpatients and deaths plunged, and new cases had mild symptoms," he said.

Given the situation, Mr Anutin said he approved the redefinition of Covid-19 as a communicable disease under surveillance instead of a dangerous communicable disease, effective from this Saturday.

He also said that from Saturday Covid-19 control measures would be further eased to facilitate the resumption of business and social activities, and the Public Health Ministry would use its provincial and national resources under the communicable disease law to deal with Covid-19 cases.

"Thailand is among the top destinations for foreign travellers since its reopening. There are 50,000-60,000 visitors a day arriving, or slightly over 1 million visitors a month. This will be much higher in the last quarter of this year," Mr Anutin said.

Dr Sura Wisetsak, health deputy permanent secretary, said the ministry had adequate medical resources to handle any Covid-19 cases.

It had more than 400,000 medical workers, about 900 hospitals, about 9,000 sub-district-level clinics and 73,000 hospital beds for Covid-19 cases, but only six percent of the beds were occupied.

The ministry had 3.1 months' supply of favipiravir, 4.5 months of molnupiravir and remdesivir for half a month. It could procure more of these medications as needed, Dr Sura said.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said the number of Covid-19 cases in home isolation dropped from 143,827 in the 28th week of this year to 81,258 in the 38th week.

Covid-19 would in future come in small and seasonal waves, like influenza, and their fatality rates would be similar, about 0.01%, he said.


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