As Thailand struggles to enter a post-pandemic period, an average of 29,000 people in Thailand have caught COVID-19 every day since June 25th, bringing the accumulated total of COVID out-patients to 207,643, according to Spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin.
“This is the actual number of patients who have mild symptoms”, he said, adding that it is important that the government communicates the real situation to the public.
The number of lung infections this week are 763, including 327 who are on ventilators, he said, adding that the Public Health Ministry has provided an assurance that there are sufficient beds in state hospitals to accommodate severe cases. He said that some of the beds are reserved for patients suffering from other diseases, which may give the impression that there are fewer beds for available severe COVID cases.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the World Health Organisation has expressed concern over the spread of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, due to the relaxation of restrictions in most countries.
As far as Thailand is concerned, he said that he has instructed the Public Health Ministry to monitor the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants closely, so appropriate responses can be developed.
He said, however, that the transition to a post-pandemic period, by reclassifying COVID-19 as endemic disease, will proceed, but with the infection situation taken into consideration, as he stressed the need to open the country for tourism and to promote economic recovery.
Dr. Taweesin said that infections are tending to reduce in 54 provinces but, in the other 23, including Bangkok, the rate rises in small waves. New infections may peak in September and stabilise in November, he said, adding that this scenario may, however, not occur if all members of the public help to contain the spread of the disease.
Dr. Taweesin said that the Ministry of Public Health has proposed situational and risk assessment in hospitals and management of the transition of COVID from a dangerous communicable disease to a “disease under watch”.
The metrics used in the risk assessment include the number of patients treated at a hospital each day not exceeding 4,000, a fatality rate of less than 0.1% (fewer than 40 per day), a bed occupancy rate of 25% and 80% of those over 60 or with underlying diseases having received at least two vaccine doses.
The CCSA has also decided to extend the state of emergency by another two months until the end of September. This is the 19th extension since state of emergency was first imposed nationally in March 2020.
Dr. Taweesin insisted that the extension is only intended to control the spread of COVID-19.