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Restrictions on businesses in 8 eastern provinces to be eased

Restrictions imposed in the eight eastern provinces of Thailand since mid-December, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, are expected to be eased as the situation there gradually improves.

Deputy Public Health Minister, Satit Pitutacha, held a meeting on Saturday with governors, and the provincial health chiefs of Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Sa Kaeo, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok and Chachoengsao, to assess the pandemic situation in preparation for the easing of some of the restrictions and allow some businesses to reopen so people can resume earning incomes.

Satit noted that some of the provinces, such as Trat and Sa Kaeo, have not reported a new infection for the past 13 days, after 1,967 cases were reported since December 19th.

Of the 1,967 cases recorded, 1,830 were locally-acquired and the rest were arrivals from abroad in state quarantine.  Most are asymptomatic and 332 are still being treated in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explained that registration of COVID-19 vaccines has not been delayed and that the administration has given top priority to their efficacy and safety.

FDA Deputy Secretary-General Surachoke Tangvivat said Saturday that the organization has sped up the registration process, by mobilizing internal and external experts to assess all the data supplied by the manufacturers and to conduct tests, to make sure that the vaccines to be used on Thai people are safe and effective.

The FDA cannot ease the regulations, because the use of the vaccines involves people’s safety, he said, adding that the vaccine by Oxford-AstraZeneca was registered on Wednesday, after about a month of analysis.

He insisted that the FDA has no policy forbidding any company from importing the vaccines into Thailand, adding that the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has recently applied to import two million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech.


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