70% of new COVID-19 cases in Thailand are Delta variant – Dr. Yong
About 70% of all new COVID-19 infections in Thailand are of the Delta (Indian) variant, which is 1.4 times more transmissible than the Alpha (UK) strain, said Dr. Yong Poovorawan, chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University.
In his Facebook post today (Saturday), the well-known virologist said that the Delta strain was first detected in Thailand among construction workers and, by now, has become the fourth variant of the virus which causes COVID-19 in Thailand. Currently, the dominant strain is the Alpha variant.
The spread of the Alpha variant began in entertainment venues in the Thonglor area of Bangkok, he said, adding that, in this third wave of the pandemic, it has replaced the G variant, which characterized the second wave of pandemic, which originated in Samut Sakhon among migrant workers from Myanmar.
Because many people who are infected by the Delta variant do not know where they contracted the disease, due to its easy transmissibility, Dr. Yong said that infections are expected to increase. He recommended that everyone takes it as their duty to comply with the health safety measures strictly, to protect themselves and to be aware that anyone can get infected at any time.
“If not necessary (to go out) just stay home, which is the best prevention,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Anucha Nakasai said today that the Ministry of Public Health has agreed to extend the contract to rent the Challenger conference hall, at Impact Muang Thong complex, as the venue for the Busarakham field hospital, until end of October.
2,000 beds have been added, raising the total at the field hospital to about 4,000, to accommodate patients with mild symptoms, he said, adding that the field hospital will be supported by medical personnel sent from several state hospitals.
More field hospitals are to be set up, to accommodate mild and severe COVID-19 cases, by Bangkok’s city hall, in cooperation with Thonburi Bamrungmuang, Phra Mongkut, Thammasat, Ramathibodi and Wachiara hospitals. New graduates from medical colleges and nurses will help to man these field hospitals, he added.