First local transmission of Omicron detected in Thailand, 63 cases confirmed so far
Thailand has confirmed a total of 63 Omicron cases to date, with more cases awaiting confirmation, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Most of the confirmed and initially detected cases are arrivals from abroad, but a local transmission, Thailand’s first, has also been detected, in a Thai woman who did not travel outside the country, but whose husband recently returned from Nigeria.
Anutin also revealed that travel measures may be readjusted. Based on initial discussions, all arrivals may have to go through quarantine again, with the cancellation of the Test & Go scheme. The “sandbox” scheme will remain in place. Such measures will have to be proposed to the CCSA first.
The Public Health Ministry (MoPH) also asked provincial health offices to report their COVID-19 situation, particularly regarding Omicron cases, as well as other measures to be imposed during the New Year holidays, with possible adjustments to the measures or cancellations.
The ministry said, in its online press conference today, that the majority of COVID-19 infections currently being detected in Thailand are of the Delta variant, representing 96.61% of 1,595 samples collected between December 11th and 19th. Of all the samples collected, Omicron accounted for 3.26%, overtaking the Alpha and Beta variants, which were each at 0.06%.
The spread of Omicron in Thailand has accelerated over the past week. 25% of the COVID-19 cases detected in infected arrivals from overseas have been of the variant.
Citing data from the World Health Organisation, the MoPH confirmed that the effectiveness of approved vaccines in preventing the spread of Omicron will be reduced, but booster shots can help increase the neutralisation level.
First reported in South Africa, the Omicron variant has now been detected in 89 countries worldwide.
Meanwhile Thailand exceeded 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered today with 61% of the population receiving two doses (44.4 million) and almost 7% (over 5 million) getting their third (booster) shots.