12 July 2024

The daily number of new COVID-19 infections will remain high for at least 2-6 weeks, before they begin to stabilise and then decrease, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit explained that the increase in new COVID-19 cases in all parts of Thailand also means an increase in patients with pneumonia, in those who require ventilators and deaths. Most of the fatalities are still among the elderly, those with underlying diseases and the unvaccinated.

He predicted that there will be 1,000 patients developing pneumonia and about 400-500 patients on ventilators. The numbers are, however, lower than the Delta outbreak, during which up to 7,000 patients experienced pneumonia and 1,300 patients were on ventilators.

Currently, 59% of all hospital beds are occupied, most of them are being used to accommodate mild and asymptomatic cases, while hospital beds for moderate and severe cases are only 20% occupied.

As for Favipiravir, 16.9 million tablets are currently in stock for March and April, while the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) can still produce 63.8 million more tablets and procure more, which will bring the total to 87.6 million tablets.

Meanwhile, Director-General of the Disease Control Department Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong that Omicron is currently the dominant COVID-19 variant in Thailand. He explained that, in Europe and the United States, they saw a big increase in Omicron cases for 1-2 months, but they eventually decreased. Therefore, it is expected that Thailand will see higher COVID-19 figures for the next 2-6 weeks.

Dr. Opart also recommended these three measures to protect against COVID-19:

• Vaccination, particularly with booster shots, as it will help reduce the number of severe cases and deaths.
• Personal prevention, such as wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, maintaining a distance from others and avoiding crowded areas.
• If you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person, self-isolate for 7 days, test yourself with rapid antigen tests on the 5th or 6th day. If you test negative you can go outside, but should avoid meeting others, going to public places and using public transport for another 3 days.