Thai hospitals prepare for COVID outbreaks during New Year mass exodus from cities

Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has instructed all hospitals nationally to prepare staff and equipment, including isolation facilities, to cope with the mass movement of people back to their home provinces and the potential spread of COVID-19 over the festive season.

CCSA Assistant Spokesperson Dr. Apisamai Srirangsan said today (Friday) that the public sector has increased precautions, due to concerns over the Omicron variant and its rapid transmissibility. She claimed some private businesses have underestimated the strain.

The COVID Delta variant still remains dominant in Thailand, accounting for 83.89% of all COVID-19 infections diagnosed between December 20th and 23rd, while Omicron accounts for 16.2%.

In Bangkok, however, the Delta variant accounted for 56.5% of 207 samples diagnosed, while Omicron accounted for 43.5%. Outside the capital, the Delta variant accounts for 92.2% of 667 specimens diagnosed and 7.8% for Omicron.

Of 221 samples taken from foreign arrivals, the Delta variant accounted for 47.1%, while Omicron accounted for 52.9%.

By comparison, in the United States, the Omicron variant now accounts for 73% of new COVID-19 infections, up from 12% just a week ago and the Omicron variant has become the dominant strain.

In the UK, 50% of those in hospital with COVID-19 are Delta cases, while the Omicron variant accounts for about 25%.

Dr. Apisamai said that the CCSA subcommittee praised the “COVID free” setting measures imposed on New Year celebrations in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ayutthaya and Rayong.

The measures include limitation of attendees to 1,000 per event and advance registration for attendance through the “QueQ” application, attendees must have received two vaccine doses and tested negative with an antigen test within 72 hours before attendance.

In Rayong, she said that the organisers of New Year events have completely banned alcohol consumption on site and have clearly set aside car park areas, with free transport services for attendees, who are all required to undergo temperature screening and QR code scanning.

 

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