The Public Department of Health has reconfirmed that Thailand is on target for classifying the Covid-19 coronavirus as an endemic disease in July, according to Deputy Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha.
At the annual meeting of the Private Hospital Association, Sathit discussed the government’s Covid-19 policy, saying when the criteria are met, the ministry would proceed with declaring Covid-19 an endemic disease on July 1.
He noted that mask-wearing regulations could be relaxed if and when this happened, though this would also depend on the circumstances of Covid-19 in each area.
Mr. Sathit pointed out, however, that the World Health Organization has not announced when Covid-19 will be reclassified as endemic, and expressed concern about the possibility of mutations.
Earlier this month, the national communicable disease committee tentatively agreed to introduce the updated designation in June.
Downwards trend of Covid-19
According to the plan, the rate of infection was intended to stabilize in April before dropping to 1,000-2,000 cases per day by the end of May.
Mr. Sathit also said the country had witnessed a downward trend in terms of the number of infections even if official numbers underestimated the overall daily caseload.
He said, but some patients who test positive for antigen do not report their infections so it’s impossible to get an exact number of infection cases.
The president of the Private Hospital Association, Dr. Chalerm Harnpanich, cautioned that Covid is a highly contagious and dangerous disease, so procuring medicines to treat infections must be done through the national health insurance fund.
The number of Covid-19 cases has reached 4,316,769 since the pandemic started in early 2020, including 2,093,334 this year, with 4,193,895 complete recoveries to date.
There have been 29,034 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, including 7,336 so far this year.
Meanwhile, researchers at Chulalongkorn University have announced they have developed the first batch of mRNA Covid vaccine, produced by BioNet-Asia Co Ltd in Thailand.
According to Rachada Dhnadirek, deputy government spokesperson, the vaccine is expected to be approved by the end of this year if all trial results meet the requirements.