Dr. Thanarak Plipat says Thai people are inviting the return of COVID-19

Thai people are becoming less concerned about the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 infections and may actually be encouraging the return of the contagion, said Dr. Thanarak Plipat, Deputy Director-General of Thailand’s Disease Control Department.

Writing on his Facebook page on Monday, Dr. Thanarak asked if the country is ripe for a second wave. His answer is “yes”, as evidenced in the behavior of many Thais “who are putting Thailand at increased risk”, citing the many stores and shops which are no longer insisting on the wearing of masks and customers appearing to be more confident about not wearing them.

“Whether the disease will return again depends on the Thai people, and I personally feel that they are not afraid of COVID-19 and want it to return,” said Dr. Thanarak, adding that this attitude is very dangerous, as he wants them to come to their senses.

He referred to a report by Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, CCSA spokesman, saying that about 3,000 migrant workers reentered Thailand, after the easing of lockdown restrictions, noting that these people may be infected and may spread the disease.

“The best protection we currently have is to wear masks and observe the other safety measures,” said Dr. Thanarak.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sopon Iamsirithavorn, Director of the General Contagious Diseases Division, said the fact that Thailand has been without a single case of local infection for 42 consecutive days does not mean that the disease has been eradicated from the country.

He warned that the disease may return with a vengeance “if we lower our guard and ignore basic safety measures,” citing lessons from several countries where cluster infections are being reported in congested places.

During the long weekend, he said that several venues and tourist attractions were congested with people, providing an ideal environment for the spread of the disease.


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