Thailand on alert for Omicron cases


BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Public Health Ministry is keeping a close eye out for infections from the new Covid-19 variant Omicron and has urged its provincial offices to maintain all preventive measures, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Sunday (Nov 28).

He was speaking at a meeting with the Emergency Operation Centre and representatives from provincial public health offices nationwide on Sunday.

“The departments of Medical Sciences and Disease Control have been tasked with monitoring the new variant closely and communicating with the public regularly to ease their concerns,” he said.

“Meanwhile, all provincial public health offices must follow the VUCA measures – vaccination, universal prevention, Covid-free setting and use of antigen test kits.

“These measures should especially target priority groups, namely seniors above the age of 60, pregnant women and those with health problems,” he added.

“Members of the public who have been vaccinated should focus on maintaining universal prevention and Covid-free settings in their daily lives to make their families and communities safe.”

Kiattiphum added that so far there have been no reports of the Omicron variant in Thailand.

“The ministry has increased screening measures for people coming from countries with high risk. People should not panic about the new variant, but should stay alert and follow updates from the ministry and related government agencies,” he said.

Omicron, which was marked a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week, is a new and potentially more contagious strain of Covid-19.

Thailand and several other countries have restricted travel to and from certain nations in southern Africa, where many people have been infected by the strain. Omicron was detected on Nov 24 in South Africa from a sample collected on Nov 9.

The ministry also reported that between Nov 1 and 27, 116,323 people have arrived in Thailand by air. Of them, only 149 or 0.13 per cent tested positive for Covid-19.

Most of the tourists in November hail from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, South Korea, France, UAE and Singapore.

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