13 July 2024

Thailand’s respected virologist Dr. Yong Poovorawan has warned Thai security officials to keep a closer watch on border crossings from Malaysia, where the highly contagious South African COVID-19 variant is spreading.

In his Facebook post today (Sunday) Dr. Yong said that the Indian variant, which was detected among some recent arrivals, although contagious, is not as worrisome as the South African one, because the carriers who arrived by air were quarantined and treated.

Dr. Yong disclosed that there are five COVID-19 variants currently spreading in Malaysia, including the South African one (B.1.351), which now accounts for 31% of the infections there.

He explained that there is a possibility of South African variant to enter Thailand through the southern border with Malaysia, same as the UK variant that just crossed the natural border and widely spread in the country now.

Therefore, he said, every effort must be made to prevent this mutation from entering Thailand, because it will reduce the efficacy of the vaccines currently in use.