According to the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand will declare Covid-19 an endemic disease on July 1 despite predictions indicating an increase in fatalities, especially among seniors.
According to Dr. Chakkarat Pitayowonganon, the director of the epidemiology division of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), it will take two to four weeks for an indication of whether the worst-case scenario forecast by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will result in over 100,000 cases a day.
Currently, we are seeing a decline in the number of infections per day, from 30,000 RT-PCR tests per day before the Songkran festival to 16,000 per day, said Dr. Chakkarat.
Yet, the number of deaths and those requiring ventilators has increased. This number is expected to rise during the first week of May, according to the DDC.
The majority of Covid-19 Deaths are Among the Elderly
In the past seven days, the ministry reported an average of 107 deaths caused by Covid-19, with 90% of the deaths being elderly.
Dr. Chakkarat said that he was less concerned about the infection after the festival because the risk group was working people who developed fewer symptoms.
Some have already received one or two booster shots, but the problem is that they can spread the disease to elderly people in their families. “We could see a rise in deaths among the elderly, he said.
Covid-19 will be declared an endemic disease on July 1 if there are no other risks, such as new variants. In order to prepare for the endemic, he said the Health Department must convince two million senior citizens still without Covid-19 vaccinations to get their first shot.
Next wave of outbreaks
Researchers at the ministry found that the two-dose vaccination could reduce death rates up to 31 times if boosters are also administered to the elderly. The study also found that half of the population had enhanced immunity against Covid-19, and this should reach at least 70%.
A report from the health department indicates that small clusters have been reported in many places, and the next wave of outbreaks is expected to originate from gathering places like military camps, schools, and factories.
According to the health department, working from home is important during the first week after Songkran. It is recommended that people who work in the office take an ATK test before going to work and again mid-week.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Health department Anutin Charnvirakul is preparing a proposal on Friday for easing the measures.
More Studies Required
Additionally, Mr. Anutin responded to a proposal by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to replace the requirement for RT-PCR tests with antigen tests for international arrivals.
Eventually, the move to declaring covid-19 endemic will take place, but a study is needed first. Mr. Anutin stated that the current number of infections is not much different from the previous few months.
However, infection rates must be measured in order for the country to be prepared to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease in July. Being prepared in all aspects is the most significant thing, according to Mr. Anutin.
“Getting infected with Covid-19 is a common occurrence due to face-to-face contact in everyday life,” he said.
“If we are all immunized, the prospect will not be quite as alarming.”