THE PUBLIC Health Ministry is now gearing up to take care of patients infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus with a top official expecting an influx of cases from mid-January onwards, Matichon newspaper said today (Dec. 14).
Dr. Somsak Ankasil, head of the Medical Services Department, said preparations were being made as one Omicron patient had already died in the UK and while the measures remain the same talks were being held with network partners to take care of those who got infected.
“It must be admitted that Omicron is more contagious and spreads faster than the Delta variant.
“Although there are reports indicating that this new variant could evade immunity built up through vaccination, jabs still help reduce the rate of serious infections.
“As for drugs, Molnupiravia and Paxlovid are likely to be effective. But the 100 percent effective prevention measures are social distancing, wearing face masks and washing hands, they can definitely help prevent Omicron infection,” he said.
The severity of an Omicron outbreak depends on the number of cases because if lots of people get infected then there is a greater chance of more critical cases emerging, he said, mentioning that the rate of severe infection is 5 percent for every one thousand cases but in Thailand no such cases that require admission to ICU have emerged as yet.
The ministry earlier said that there were 2,862 Covid cases and 37 deaths over the past 24 hours with this taking the cumulative confirmed total since April 1 to 2,146,043 and since the start of the pandemic 2,174,906.
Today’s 37 fatalities raised the death toll to 21,231.
Another 4,818 patients have been cured taking total recoveries since April to 2,078,718 while 47,531 are still undergoing treatment.
Top: Omicron strain, first detected in southern Africa, is the fifth variant to be given the designation ‘variant of concern’ by World Health Organisation.Photo: Reuters and published by The Straits Times
Home Page: An Omicron testing kit. Photo: Getty Images and published by BBC