LESS than two weeks after the announcement of the face mask mandate being lifted the Public Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department today (July 5) urged the public to continue wearing them because Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are spread rapidly in the country, TV Channel 7 said.
The twin subspecies have now taken over half of the outbreak areas in Thailand, having increased to 51.7%, and will soon spread across the country.
However another new Omicron strain – BA.2.75 – has not yet entered Thailand.
The number of new infections, severe cases and deaths is increasing especially in Bangkok and its vicinities and tourism provinces.
The Disease Control Department expects the current outbreak to continue for another two and half months till September with the Covid tally rising to a peak of 4,000 cases a day during this period.
People are urged to be careful of spreading infection to the 608 group, that is the elderly over sixty years of age, those suffering from chronic diseases and pregnant women.
Meanwhile Dr. Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said in a Facebook post that even three days after recovering from Covid people could still spread the virus and for this reason it is essential that patients self-isolate for at least 10 days.
He quoted the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine as saying that research shows the infection will decrease after seven days and very little is found after 10 days regardless of whether it is patients with severe or mild symptoms or asymptomatic.
Dr. Yong added that he had told Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to stay quarantined for 10 days but he did so for six days only.
Likewise Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit will be attending the Cabinet meeting today after being quarantined for seven days.
At the same time the Rural Doctor Society published an urgent memo signed by the Public Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattipoom Wongrachit on June 30 and sent to health inspectors in zones 1-13 warning of a new Covid wave as cases were now rising in many areas.
They were told to prepare extra beds for severely ill patients and tell people to not be careless.
The ministry had announced this morning that there were 1,917 Covid cases and 18 deaths over the past 24 hours taking the cumulative confirmed total since Jan. 1 to 2,310,582 and since the start of the pandemic 4,534,017.
Today’s 18 fatalities raised the death toll to 30,736.
Another 2,282 patients were cured taking total recoveries since Jan. 1 to 2,310,352 with 24,435 patients still undergoing treatment.
Top: Close-up of a painting of a superhero wearing a protective face mask. Photo: Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)
Front Page: An older couple standing under a face mask. Photo: Marco Verch Professional Photographer CC BY 2.0)