Alarm bells ring as Covid situation worsens
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Alarm bells ring as Covid situation worsens

A teacher dispenses hand sanitiser gel to a pupil at Banbangkapi School in Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks when the new school term started in May last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A teacher dispenses hand sanitiser gel to a pupil at Banbangkapi School in Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks when the new school term started in May last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Experts are becoming concerned about the worsening Covid-19 situation over the past weeks, with health authorities issuing warnings on the spread of the new Omicron sub-variants.

Dr Yong Poovorawan, a virologist in the Paediatrics Department of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, posted a warning on his Facebook page on Monday about the HK2 sub-variant currently spreading, saying it is more contagious than the JN1 sub-variant behind most of this year’s Covid-19 cases.

Very few studies on HK2 have been conducted in Thailand, Dr Yong said.  

He added that it spreads quickly but the severity of the symptoms appear mild.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Medical Genomics of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital warned about the spread of the KP2 Omicron sub-variant through its Facebook page.

According to the centre, KP2, alongside its sister sub-variants KP1 and KP4, falls into a group nicknamed by experts as “FLiRT,” for their mutation pattern, higher potential to spread and evade people’s immune system.

Experts around the world are warning about the “FLiRT” sub-variants, said the centre.

The World Health Organization recently shared information from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), which said that at least nine Covid-19 cases in Thailand were found to be the KP2 variant.

The centre also warned about the KP3 Omicron sub-variant, which has the potential to spread rapidly in the country.

Eight cases of the KP3 sub-variant have been reported in the country so far, according to the post. 

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) said that in the week ending on Monday, at least 1,880 people were hospitalised with Covid-19, which equates to 269 cases daily.

Of them, 11 people died. Most of the victims were considered among the at-risk group which includes elderly people, pregnant women and people with seven high-risk diseases.

Since January, around 15,000 people have been hospitalised with Covid-19 with 104 deaths reported, the DDC said, adding that the disease situation continues to worsen.

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