Home stay rules to be relaxed

Home stay rules to be relaxed

Devotees pour water on a Buddhist statue as they celebrate Songkran at Wat Prachapirom in Narathiwat's Muang district on Tuesday. (AFP photo)
Devotees pour water on a Buddhist statue as they celebrate Songkran at Wat Prachapirom in Narathiwat's Muang district on Tuesday. (AFP photo)

Home isolation for high-risk people who have been exposed to someone infected with Covid-19 is expected to be reduced from a week to five days starting next month.

Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said on Tuesday the National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC) agreed on Monday that the quarantine period will be cut to five days while another five days will be required for them to observe and monitor their health.

"The decision is in line with the global situation," Dr Opas told a media briefing, adding that people isolating at home are not deemed to be patients.

Currently, at-risk people exposed to those infected have to self-isolate at home for seven days, and then observe and monitor their health condition for a further three days.

During the three-day period, they are allowed freedom of movement, but have to follow precautions strictly, he said.

The decision was made based on information that the incubation period of Omicron, which is now the dominant strain of Covid-19 in Thailand and many countries, is only about three days, Dr Opas said.

He added that several countries have decided to cut quarantine periods for travellers considering the short incubation period.

The new quarantine rule will be presented for approval by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) after the Songkran festival, and if it is approved the change will take effect next month, Dr Opas said.

But before that, the CCSA will have to assess the post-Songkran situation, he said. Daily caseloads are expected to surge after the festival, though health authorities believe the situation can be brought under control, Dr Opas said.

He added that those aged 60 and older and people with underlying health problems account for 97% of Covid-19 deaths recorded in the country.

The majority of those who died (94%) did not receive Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, Dr Opas said.

Data shows that booster shots can prevent the worst effects of the virus and administering boosters to high-risk groups is the Public Health Ministry's priority, he said.

A graphic presented at the media briefing showed the daily tally of Covid-19 infections is expected to surge to 100,000 in a worst-case scenario by April 19 unless strict precautions are widely observed up and down the country for the duration of Songkran.

Thailand logged a further 19,982 cases and 101 deaths over the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Tuesday, as the number of deaths exceeded 100 for three consecutive days.

Bangkok continued to log the most daily cases at 3,339, followed by 884 in Nonthaburi, 791 in Chon Buri, 736 in Nakhon Pathom and 724 in Samut Prakan.

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