Thailand’s Public Health Minister Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul tested positive for COVID-19, despite already receiving six doses of the vaccine, with the last one being administered in June.
Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit said that Anutin had been prescribed self-isolation for a week due to muscle pains and throat irritation.
He said that the Health Minister may have contracted the Coronavirus on his overseas trip because he met and talked with many people attending the meetings.
As a result of booster doses before his departure, Dr. Kiattibhoom said that the public health minister has not fallen seriously ill and is only suffering mild symptoms.
Officials who accompanied the Health Minister on the trip have been advised to use face masks at all times, avoid visiting crowded places and monitor their health.
They have also been advised to take a rapid antigen test. He said if they start to develop symptoms they should report to a doctor for further health screening.
Dr. Kiattibhoom also said the minister’s infection would not affect the government’s policy to open the country to foreign travelers.
Maintaining good health insurance
Additionally, he advised wearing a face mask when in crowded places and getting booster doses, which he said would reduce the risk of severe symptoms or even death. He also recommended maintaining good health insurance.
Masks are now voluntary and the mandate to wear them was lifted last week. It is still recommended that people deemed to be at a high risk wear them. It is also recommended to wear face masks in places with poor ventilation that are crowded.
The minister is not the only cabinet member infected with COVID-19. Jurin Laksanawisit, the commerce minister, also contracted the virus after returning from the UK. Deputy Public Minister Sathit Pitutecha revealed, however, that his condition is not severe and that he will work from home for the next seven days.
The official figures for Thailand’s COVID-19 situation show an average of 2,000 new cases every day, but it is estimated that actual new infections are 10 times higher.
The death rate from the Coronavirus in Thailand, however, is still lower than the global average, Thailand News site Thai PBS reported.