Raise your guard against dangerous new Covid wave, govt warns

Raise your guard against dangerous new Covid wave, govt warns

People should get four jabs, not three as previously advised

A nurse vaccinates an elderly woman against Covid-19 at the already-closed Central Vaccination Centre at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok in July. Health authorities are urging people to receive Covid-19 booster jabs as the disease is spreading faster. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A nurse vaccinates an elderly woman against Covid-19 at the already-closed Central Vaccination Centre at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok in July. Health authorities are urging people to receive Covid-19 booster jabs as the disease is spreading faster. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Health authorities are urging people to raise their guard against Covid-19 as infections rise sharply and new strains multiply amid gatherings and an influx of foreign arrivals.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for public health, said on Monday the number of Covid-19 inpatients had risen, but most of them had mild symptoms. The number of fatalities was also increasing, he said, although the average number of daily deaths was still 10 or below.

"We anticipate a rising number of small waves that will gradually fall in the New Year," Dr Opas said.

The growing Covid-19 count has prompted more people to seek vaccinations, and he ordered hospitals nationwide to administer vaccines to walk-ins as well as those with appointments.

Dr Chakrarat Pitayawong-anont, epidemiology director of the Department of Disease Control, said Covid-19 cases were rising again because people were resuming activities and many had not been inoculated reccently.

"Those who were vaccinated or infected more than three months ago should receive a booster shot to prevent severe illness. They should also reduce risks from activities such as sharing meals... especially with elderly family members, who should currently refrain from going out," he said.

Elderly people who contracted Covid-19 or had not been vaccinated in the past three months ago should see a doctor immediately to receive remdesivir or Paxlovid injections, because oral medications alone might not be sufficiently effective for them, Dr Chakarat said.

"During the long holiday period in December, people should protect themselves by wearing face masks in public places and avoiding risky activities," he said.

According to the Thai News Agency, Dr Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said the BA.2.75 sub-variant of Covid-19 had caused 58% of new cases, fuelled by higher numbers of visitors arriving from India.

He said that as Europeans arrive in the next few months to escape their cold winters, cases of the XBB subtype could go up.

Dr Supakit also said that worldwide the disease was mutating to avoid antibodies and thus spreading faster. Previous cases could fall ill again, and vaccines might not be as effective in protecting recipients as they were before.

Under the present circumstances, people need at least four vaccine jabs, not three as previously advised, he said.


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