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Health Officials Raise Health Alert to Level 4 as Omicron Surges

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Health officials in Thailand have raised the covid-19 health alert to level 4, Thailand’s public health ministry announces Monday as Omicron surges thought-out Thailand.

However, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) indicated that no lockdowns would be reinstated in order to end the current outbreak.

Rungrueng Kijphati, the ministry’s spokesperson, posted on Facebook on Monday that the emergency alert level will be raised nationwide and containment measures will be strengthened in high-risk areas.

As the number of new infections, severe cases, and deaths continues to rise, authorities have reported that close relatives and acquaintances face an increased risk of infection due to collective activities such as dining out, playing sports, and attending weddings and funerals, Dr. Rungrueng said.

The majority of Covid-related deaths continue to be caused by members of at-risk groups, such as the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and the unvaccinated.

As part of the new alert, people are urged to work from home, avoid unnecessary interprovincial travel, suspend overseas trips, close at-risk venues, and avoid large gatherings.

Health risk to the public

Early last month, when the situation was less severe than now, the Health Ministry raised the alert to Level 4 due to Omicron in some red-zone provinces. Following the announcement, the alert will now apply to all provinces in the country.

According to the Ministry of Public Health’s permanent secretary, Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the virus poses a threat to the public.

“We announced the Level-4 alert previously, but the public may have forgotten about it,” Dr. Kiattiphum said, adding that if people fail to follow precautions and the outbreak doesn’t slow, strict curbs may have to be reinstated.

Director of the Department of Disease Control’s epidemiology division, Jakkarat Pittayawong-anont, said that across the nation, infections have increased across all age groups, particularly among children and working-age people.

According to him, the 18 provinces that are being promoted for tourism must be closely monitored.

CCSA spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangson said on Monday that effective Wednesday, the CCSA will focus more on the number of deaths and severe cases. This is in contrast to the spike in new cases.

The meeting on Wednesday will examine the public health system’s ability to handle the situation and explore ways to accelerate economic recovery.

Despite the CCSA’s unlikely return of lockdowns, Thailand still cannot relax virus curbs in the same way other countries have. We need to find our own approach,” Dr. Apisamai said.

Additionally, she sought to ease concerns about the rumoured suspension of the Test & Go system, saying the public health system is still adequately equipped to handle foreign arrivals who test positive.

Indicators of infection clusters have been detected among healthcare personnel at several hospitals, including Ramathibodi Hospital, Siriraj Hospital, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital in Chiang Mai, Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen, and Betong Hospital in Yala.

As a result, infected hospital personnel will have to be quarantined, compounding the shortage of people caring for patients, she said.

Over the past 24 hours, Thailand has recorded 18,883 new Omicron cases and 32 more Covid-19 fatalities, according to the Public Health Ministry.

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