Health ministry says Level 4 COVID-19 alert still necessary as infections have yet to peak
The Level 4 COVID-19 alert, in place in Thailand since the early this month, is still necessary because the new wave of infections has not yet reached its peak and there are signs that new infections will increase in Bangkok and its surrounding areas, said Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit today (Friday).
Although the rate of new infections appears to be stable now, he warned that it may pick up again after the easing of restrictions and because people are more relaxed in “sandbox” provinces, including Bangkok.
He said that COVID-19 infections in Thailand have not yet reached their peak, so there is a need to stay alert and people must strictly comply with basic safety measures to prevent another surge, similar to the clusters which began in pub-restaurants during the long New Year holidays.
Despite the latest easing of restrictions, such as allowing eateries in “sandbox” provinces to serve alcohol until 11pm from January 24, Dr. Kiattibhoom said the Ministry of Public Health has been closely monitoring the situation and ensuring that restaurants strictly follow the safety measures.
He also urged people with appointments for booster doses, especially the elderly and those afflicted by underlying diseases, to get vaccinated, noting that those twice vaccinated are still vulnerable to Omicron variant infection and most fatalities are among people in these groups.
Meanwhile, the Omicron variant has now been detected in every province in Thailand, with 10,721 cases found to date through random sample analysis, according to the Medical Sciences Department. Most are in Bangkok (4,178), followed by Chon Buri (837), Phuket (434), Roi Et (355) and Samut Prakan (329).
The variant is replacing other strains in Thailand, as it has become dominant in new cases detected. In random samplings from January 11-17, 86.8% of infections were Omicron, while Delta was at 13.2%.