12 July 2024

The Ministry of Public Health anticipates that COVID-19 infections in Thailand will be on a decline by the end of this month or in early June, which will enable it to propose further easing of restrictions, including the downgrading of the COVID Alert to Level 2, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

On May 9th, the Public Health Ministry decided to lower theLevel from 4 to 3, after the pandemic situation had improved significantly.

According to Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr.Kiattibhoom Vongrachit, Level 2 means further easing of restrictions on entertainment venues, such as bars, pubs and karaoke bars.

Members of the public can engage in almost all activities,except those over 60, those suffering from underlying diseases and pregnant women, who are collectively known as the “608 group”, and those who are not fully inoculated, who are advised to avoid entertainment venues, crowded places andclosed venues without air circulation.

Members of the “608 group” who are not fully vaccinated are advised to avoid inter-provincial public transport and overseas travel, said Dr. Kiattibhoom.

Anutin explained that there are four phases in the management of the COVID-19 situation to prepare the country for the transition of COVID-19 to an endemic disease.

Thailand, he said, has passed the first phase of combatting the disease and is currently in the “plateau phase”, hence the lowering of the alert to Level 3, adding that there are two more phases, namely “declining” and “post-pandemic”.

With the move to Level 3, action has been taken in four main areas:

-Health services. Focus on acceleration of the provision of vaccine booster shots to cover 60% of the population,monitoring of cluster infections and lung inflammationsand easing of travel restrictions for overseas arrivals.

-Medical service. This includes adjustment of treatment for out-patients and focused treatment on the severe and Long COVID cases.

-Legal and social affairs. Laws and rules covering all relevant agencies must be compatible, to clear the way for the transition of COVID-19 into an endemic disease, promotion of the “Universal Prevention” and “COVID Free Setting” measures and restriction on mass gatherings.

-Communication and publicity to educate people abouthow to live with COVID-19 safely.

Anutin said the cooperation from all parties concerned has contributed to the positive progress in the situation, as he added that management of COVID must be adjusted to fit the situation, as well as relaxation of some measures, so people can resume their normal life and the economic recovery can proceed.

The minister has chaired a meeting of the Public-Private Partnership Committee to discuss COVID-19 situation and preparatory measures to reclassify COVID as endemic disease.