Questions raised over plan to categorise COVID-19 as endemic in Thailand
Chief of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Centre, Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha, has raised some questions about the Ministry of Public Health’s plan to reclassify COVID-19 as an endemic disease in Thailand.
In his Facebook post today, in response to the National Communicable Disease Committee’s approval yesterday of the criteria which must be met before COVID-19 can be declared to be an endemic disease in Thailand, he raised the following questions:
- Will COVID-19 no longer be treated as dangerous infectious disease?
- Is a screening and isolation process still needed?
- Is there still a need to report infection updates?
- If someone needs treatment, will they have to use their Gold Card to apply for it?
- Will there be compensation for businesses affected by COVID-19?
- Will people taking COVID-19 tests have to pay for them?
- Can people still claim compensation from the National Health Security Office (NHSO) for any undesirable side effects from vaccines as they are only for emergency use?
Dr. Thiravat noted that, to date, 13,825 claims for compensation have been filed with the NHSO, of which 10,544 have met the set criteria, adding that there are several more claims pending appeal. About 1.2 billion baht in compensation has been paid out by the NHSO.
Some of the preconditions for meeting the endemic criteria include the new infection rate not exceeding 10,000 cases a day, a mortality rate of less than 0.1% of the infection rate and hospitalisations must be less than 10% of the infection rate. Thailand’s daily infections have ranged between 6,000 and 9,000 over the past few weeks.