11 July 2024

COVID-19 infections in Thailand this year are expected to increase as there are more arrivals from China, but there is no reason to be overly concerned as long as they are fully vaccinated, wear face masks and maintain social distancing, said Professor Dr. Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University, today (Monday).

He said that it would not be surprising if some Chinese tourists carry COVID-19 and spread the disease in countries they visit, including Thailand, because Chinese people have low immunity to the disease, as they were less exposed to the virus than other nationalities due to the Chinese Government’s zero infection policy.

About five million Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand this year. The technical sub-committee of the National Communicable Disease Committee has agreed that Chinese tourists will be treated like all other foreign tourists visiting Thailand, but they will be required to produce a certification of vaccination and are advised to take out health insurance coverage before arriving in Thailand.

If people in countries visited by Chinese tourists have sufficient immunity, the risk of being infected or of becoming seriously ill will reduce, he added.

For high-risk people, such as the elderly and those suffering from underlying diseases, he recommends that they get fully vaccinated, including boosters, adding that it does not need to be with the new generation of vaccines.

According to the COVID-19 Data Centre, 2,111 people contracted COVID-19 between December 25th and 31st last year, or an average of 302 cases a day. The COVID-19 related death toll for that week was 75.

In 2022, according to official figures, there were 2,500,484 infections and 11,971 related fatalities.