Fifth wave of COVID-19 already sweeping through Thailand – Medical Services chief

Thailand is facing the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sooner than anticipated, with the curve of infections on a steep rise and body temperature scanners installed in most offices and public venues not catching asymptomatic cases, said Dr. Somsak Akksilp, director-general of Medical Services today (Wednesday).

Dr. Somsak was quoting a forecast by Dr. Sunt Srianthumrong, a special lecturer at the Graduate School of Environmental Development Administration of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).

He admitted that it is difficult to differentiate between an infection by the Omicron variant and flu, based on the symptoms, noting that, of about half of the Omicron cases are asymptomatic.

There are seven Omicron cases in which the virus has entered the lungs, but ventilators are not currently needed to help in breathing. 54% of the cases develop a cough, 37% a sore throat, 15% muscle pains, 12% a runny nose, 10% a headache, 5% develop breathing difficulties and 2% lost their sense of smell.

Due to the difficulty in distinguishing between Omicron and flu, Dr. Somsak recommended that anyone who suffers flu-like symptoms isolate and take an antigen test.

If the test result is positive, he said that the person must contact the National Health Security Office, via the 1330 hotline. Officials will respond to the call to assess the initial symptoms within six hours.  If the symptoms are not serious, the infected person will enter home or community isolation. Severe cases will be admitted to a hospital immediately.

In a worst case scenario, in which there are about 30,000 infections, he said there are roughly 52,000 beds available across the country, which are more than enough.


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