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Christmas easing of Covid-19 curbs likely

Further easing of Covid-19 curbs, reopening of border checkpoints in the south and guidelines for New Year celebrations are expected to be debated by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Monday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will lead the CCSA’s meeting to assess the Covid-19 situation and high on the agenda are further relaxations of restrictions including the reopening of border checkpoints in the southern region.

Rachada Dhnadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, said the proposed reopening, tentatively scheduled on Thursday, will be discussed following the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

She said the CCSA meeting is one of Gen Prayut’s highlights of the upcoming week, adding the premier is scheduled to visit Yala and Pattani on Wednesday and join the Southern Border Province Administrative Centre (SPBAC) meeting.

According to a source, guidelines for New Year celebrations and adjustments to the colour-coded control zones by the ministries of Public Health and Tourism and Sport will be tabled for consideration.

The Ministry of Public Health will also submit to the CCSA a vaccination plan for next year and revised preventive measures for inbound passengers, according to the source.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Gen Prayut has urged business operators to strictly comply with a government policy on the hiring of migrant workers to help with the fight against Covid-19.

He said the government’s decision to allow entry of migrant workers under memoranda of understanding (MoU) between Thailand and neighbouring countries will help ease labour shortages.

Meanwhile, Dr Chawetsan Namwat, director of the Emergency Health Hazard and Disease Control Division, said on Saturday there haven’t yet been any local infections of the Omicron variant in Thailand.

He said three Omicron cases have been confirmed — the first being an American businessman travelling from Spain and Dubai and the two others being Thai women returning from Nigeria.

He said a fourth potential case is a Thai national returning from DR Congo and while the result of full genome sequencing of the patient’s samples is not ready, chances are high that he is infected with the new variant.

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