The Public Health Ministry is warning that many respiratory diseases are spreading during the rainy season, especially influenza, with a higher patient rate than last year, said Dr Opas Kankawinpong, the ministry's permanent secretary.
He said on Monday that the number of patients with respiratory diseases, specifically influenza, has risen significantly after the ministry scrapped mandatory mask-wearing in October last year.
From Jan 1-Sept 16, there were 185,216 cases, or 279.9 cases per 100,000 population, and four deaths.
Dr Opas also said that over 12,000 cases appeared during the week of Sept 10-16, a number that is higher than the same period last year and higher than the last five years' average.
The permanent secretary said that he had ordered provincial public health offices across the country to tackle the increasing number of patients with respiratory diseases.
All three viruses are transmissible by droplets, person-to-person contact and shared items. People are advised to wear masks and avoid contact with sensitive groups such as children or old people.
Dr Opas also asked for parents' cooperation to quarantine their children when they start to show signs of respiratory disease symptoms such as coughing and runny nose. Moreover, schools should consider shutting down if many students are infected with respiratory diseases.
Meanwhile, Dr Supakit Sirilak, chief of the Department of Medical Sciences, said that XBB.1.16 is still the dominant Omicron subvariant found in Thailand.
However, the EG.5.1 and HK.3 variants are on the rise as well, he said.
Dr Supakit said that the rate has risen over 10% over a short period, albeit with most resulting in mild symptoms.